A Surprising Start for Public Poetry

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Poets Guadalupe Hernandez and Mayor Annise Parker
Two unexpected things happened at the Public Poetry reading on Saturday. First, Mayor Annise Parker, who was slated to read a few of her favorite poems to launch the series, read from her own work (a bi-lingual piece about a dead ocelot). And second, a fourth-grade girl named Guadalupe Hernandez stole the show.

A student of poet Deborah D.E.E.P. Wiggins, Hernandez attends a Writers in the Schools program at E.O. Smith Educational Center. She's been writing for only five months but managed to so impress Wiggins that when Public Poetry founder and director Fran Sanders asked for a student poet, Hernandez was at the top of Wiggins's list.

Poets Rich Levy, Martha Serpas, Eva Skrande and Wiggins, all well respected and talented writers, read from their work to an appreciative crowd of some 100 people. Then it was Hernandez's turn. At all of four feet tall, she was shorter than the podium (she had to read standing next to it). Charming and demure, she read two untitled poems, including one about diamonds. (Along the lines of "I am a diamond, I shine brighter than the stars.") And that was it, show stolen.

Not a bad start for a series that aims to create a buzz about Houston's poetry scene.

Samuel Amadon, Robin Davidson, Elisa A. Garza and Dave Parsons are featured in the next Public Poetry's reading. 2 p.m. May 7, Central Library, 500 McKinney. For information, call 281-687-5270 or visit www.publicpoetry.net. Free.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez