Javier Flores, Department of Arts & Culture
SAN ANTONIO (March 20, 2018) – Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the City of San Antonio announce Octavio Quintanilla, Ph.D., as San Antonio’s new Poet Laureate. Quintanilla, a local author and professor, will serve as the City’s fourth Poet Laureate for a two-year term from 2018-2020. Mayor Nirenberg and the Department of Arts & Culture will host a public investiture ceremony at City Council Chambers in the Municipal Plaza Building, 114 W. Commerce, on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. to officially appoint Quintanilla to the position. The event will be one of the many taking place throughout the city in April in celebration of National Poetry Month.
In 2012, San Antonio became the first major city in Texas to recognize and appoint a Poet Laureate. Texas has appointed a state Poet Laureate since 1932, and many cities throughout the United States, including San Francisco, Santa Fe and Denver, have Poet Laureate programs. Quintanilla becomes San Antonio’s first male Poet Laureate and joins previous San Antonio Poets Laureate Carmen Tafolla (2012-2014), Laurie Ann Guerrero (2014-2016), and Jenny Browne (2016-2018) in a role that is intended to generate public interest in and preserve the art of poetry, while celebrating the culture and history of San Antonio. All three previous San Antonio Poets Laureate have gone on to become State Poets Laureate for Texas.
“As a world class city, San Antonio supports and fosters its creative and artistic communities – especially the many individuals who have committed their lives and work to preserving our city’s cultural legacy,” Mayor Nirenberg said.”Octavio is one of those committed individuals, and the City of San Antonio is proud to have him serve as our new Poet Laureate and promote the importance of literary arts in the community.”
Quintanilla has been an assistant professor at Our Lady of the Lake University since 2013, where he currently teaches literature and creative writing in the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from the University of Texas Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). In 2010 he graduated with a doctorate in literature and creative writing from the University of North Texas. He also taught high school English for seven years in the Rio Grande Valley.
Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, “If I Go Missing” (Slough Press, 2014). He has published works that have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pilgrimage, Green Mountains Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature, and elsewhere.
A native of Harlingen, Texas and having lived in Mexico until the age of nine, Quintanilla has been active in the San Antonio community through a variety of activities including serving on advisory committees for the San Antonio Book Festival, Luminaria, and Zoeglossia: Retreat for Writers with Disabilities. He is also the South Texas Regional Editor for Texas Books in Review and on the Peer Review Board of Southwestern American Literature.
"What an honor to be named the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio. This is a city I love and I look forward to working with our communities to celebrate and promote poetry,” Quintanilla said. “San Antonio is a visionary city, and I am so happy to be given the opportunity in the capacity of Poet Laureate to contribute to our literary future.”
Since 2012, the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture has supported innovative programs and public events in San Antonio and in conjunction with the city’s Poet Laureate including festivals, workshops, readings and more.
In April, the City of San Antonio joins communities across the country in celebrating National Poetry Month. More information on the San Antonio Poet Laureate program and National Poetry Month can be found at www.GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.