March 13, 2023


The 6th annual Magic City Poetry Festival, a month-long festival celebrating poetry and community in the Greater Birmingham area, will be taking place this April from the 1st through the 30th. The MCPF offers a variety of free events for all audiences at locations all over and outside of Birmingham, aimed at making the point that “poetry is for everyone.”

This year, one of the featured events is An Evening with Patricia Smith, sponsored by the PEN AMERICA Birmingham chapter and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Smith is a National Poetry Series winning poet and author of eight collections of poetry. She is a professor of English at the City University of New York and a lecturer for creative writing at Princeton University. An Evening with Patricia Smith will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 4th, which is MCPF’s MLK Day of Remembrance, commemorating the day that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Another exciting event is An Evening with Jacqueline Trimble, sponsored by Church Street Coffee and Books and Spiritual Direction for Writers. A Cave Canem and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry, Trimble is a dynamic speaker who will read from her work at the O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook on April 1st.

For those more interested in daytime activities, Poetry in the Park (April 1st at the Civil Rights Monument) and Poetry in the Gardens (April 15th at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens) both consist of guided walks with stops to enjoy poetry readings. The April 1st event, in partnership with St. Paul UMC, Scrollworks, and the National Parks Service, commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Palm Sunday March. The church will host a full day of events including MCPF’s poetry programming. These events are great for festival-goers of all ages!

“This marks our sixth year of programming for the Magic City Poetry Festival, and we’re thrilled to have so many incredible events and so many community partners and sponsors,” said Ashley M. Jones, director of the festival and current poet laureate of Alabama. “We truly believe poetry is for everybody, and this year will demonstrate that poets everywhere, from Pulitzer finalists like Patricia Smith to our own shining stars living in Alabama, are welcome here and will be celebrated here.”

In addition to readings and open mics, this year the MCPF is pleased to reprise its Eco-Poetry Fellowship, sponsored by Spiritual Direction for Writers and WVTM 13. This year’s fellow, Tania De’Shawn, is the Light Poet. She will be partnered with Birmingham Public Library to produce events to uplift the community in 2023.

Carrie Lou Campbell, the Grants Coordinator, spoke about Tania De’Shawn’s recent collaboration with the Library: “In the past year, BPL has featured Tania’s recent publication, be gentle with black girls, as the cornerstone for two different events: a panel discussion on systemic adultification bias against young Black girls and a follow-up event highlighting the importance of positive body image. Both events were well attended, addressed needs of the community, and emphasized the role and passion the arts can play in the lived experiences of Birmingham’s residents.” De’Shawn will serve in this fellowship role until April 2024.

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For more information about the festival and a full calendar of events, visit

For further information or interviews, contact Executive Director Ashley M. Jones at