Alabama Writers Conclave

2018 Magic City Poetry Festival

Bring poetry to life.


Magic City Poetry Festival 2018

All events are FREE and open to the public. Events will also be viewed remotely from Out Loud HSV (Huntsville) and the UA MFA (Tuscaloosa).


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Opening Mixer and Open Mic

Mon, April 2 from 6-8pm at Studio 2500

This is the official opening event of the 2018 Magic City Poetry Festival. We’ll kick the festival off with a networking mixer at Birmingham’s Studio 2500. Enjoy refreshments by Church Street Coffee and Books, a live piano performance, networking with local writers, a pop-up reading by several local poets (Lamar Wilson, Alina Stefanescu, Lauren Slaughter, Laura Secord, Shaunteka LaTrese), and an open mic for local performers, including two youth poets from Real Life Poets, Inc.

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50 Years Post-MLK: Media, the Magic City, and How the South was Won, sponsored by PEN America

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 6-8pm in Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Community Room

In this panel discussion, writer/thinker Kiese Laymon and poet Jacqueline Trimble will discuss the role the media has played in the representation or misrepresentation of Birmingham and the American South and the progress (or lack thereof) we've made. The media had a lot to do with the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1965 because of the national coverage of the Birmingham Campaign of the Civil Rights Movement, but that same media has either held the South in suspended animation. That is, we are either shown as backwards and rigidly conservative or, in the case of Birmingham, we are shown as a beacon of completion as it relates to the Civil Rights struggle. How can the South navigate these misrepresentations to make way for real progress, and how can it serve as an example or a radar for the US’ progress at large?

This panel will take place on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it will serve as a commemoration of this tragic moment in American history.

Reserve your free tickets for this event online

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Hosted by Birmingham's Barry Marks. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 6-8 pm at Naked Art Gallery

Join local poets, writers, and readers at this social gathering sponsored by the Alabama State Poetry Society and em-ceed by Barry Marks.

There will be free wine, cheese, and open mic opportunities.  10% of purchases made from Naked Art Gallery during the event will be donated to Alabama State Poetry Society.  


Community Poetry Showcase: MCPF Finale!

Saturday, April 7th, 3-5pm at DISCO

At this, the closing event of the Magic City Poetry Festival, join a great lineup of Birmingham readers—including youth poets from the Woodlawn Writers Corps, Maria Vargas, Kwoya Fagin Maples, Tina Mozelle Braziel, Katherine Webb, Jason McCall, and Alabama State Poet Laureate Jennifer Horne. This will also serve as an open house for DISCO, so come out to learn more about their programs!


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Maybe join a writer’s group like the Alabama Writers’ Conclave. Being connected to other Alabama writers might give you the support and even the tools you need to help propel you on your journey. (There are workshops taught at our annual conference — sign up for this year’s June conference, which will be held in Orange Beach.)
— Ashley M. Jones in an interview with I Create Birmingham


This is the fun part--the easy part, the celebration of poetry in Birmingham, Alabama. Here's what you can do to support the Magic City Poetry Festival:

  1. Make plans to attend.
  2. Reserve your free tickets for the PEN-sponsored panel discussion so we can count on your attendance and make sure seating is available for all. 
  3. Print up and few flyers and share them at a school, cafe, church, meeting house, or Little Free Library. (Use those blue download buttons to print and share.)
  4. Spread the word on social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, or whatever floats your pixel-boat.
  5. Learn more about Director Ashley M. Jones' vision from this I Create Birmingham profile.
  6. Follow Magic City Poetry Festival on Facebook
  7. Join PEN America to support the work of marginalized voices and writers across the United States. 
  8. Email Festival Director Ashley M. Jones if you'd like to feature the festival on local media or blogs. 
  9. Join or renew your membership to AWC so that we can continue to be the vehicle for Alabama literature in your local community. 
  10. Read an interview with panelist Kiese Laymon in The Paris Review.
  11. Download and share a copy of the press release with local media or nonprofits.


There is no way to express our gratitude to local and national sponsors except to call them by their names—thank you.
— Director Ashley M. Jones