NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Qui Qarre, an author and award-winning poet from Nairobi, Kenya, will serve as guest poet and judge during “Esperanza’s Night Out,” beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at the Stone Fort Museum on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.
Qarre, who is among the leading spoken word women poets in Kenya, is the author of two anthologies, “Tears of the Pen” and “Broken Vase.” She won the Slam Africa Women’s Poetry Competition in 2016. In 2017, she represented Kenya at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Dallas, where she ranked No. 29 among 96. She later competed in the Women of the Bayou City Poetry Slam in Houston, where she scored 27.5 out of 30 for her overall performance.
“I first heard Qui perform in Houston,” said Dr. Flora Farago, SFA associate professor in the School of Human Sciences. “She has performed across the U.S. and Africa. Having her visit Nacogdoches and participate in this event is a real treasure. It will help the audience get a taste of ‘poetical activism,’ which is the merging of poetry, art and a call to action for social justice and reflection.”
“Esperanza’s Night Out” is a collaboration between the Stone Fort Museum and the Nacogdoches Public Library’s Big Read grant. The event offers an exploration of Sandra Cisernos’ novel, “A House on Mango Street,” and the novel’s heroine and narrator, Esperanza Codero.
Following popular themes from the book, participants will engage in various activities, such as calligraphy and writing their own vignette on a vintage typewriter. The poetry slam, which Qarre will judge, is part of the festivities.
“This is a great opportunity for SFA students and the community to experience the work of an internationally recognized poet,” said Carolyn Spears, Stone Fort Museum curator. “The event is free, and refreshments will be served. I hope everyone will join us for this wonderful October event.”
Qarre’s anthologies will be for sale during the event, and she will be happy to autograph them.
Contestants can register at the museum on the day of the event for the poetry slam. More information about guidelines and cash prizes is available by contacting the museum at (936) 468-2408 or by downloading the poetry guidelines.