Reporting San Antonio

VIDEO: Words for Birds and the Trees They Live In

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Two days before another public hearing about a proposed mass tree removal at Brackenridge Park, a group of San Antonio poets stand in solidarity with the tree and bird protectors.

On a muggy but beautiful April afternoon, San Antonio poets, writers, activists, artivists, and bird/word lovers of all backgrounds gathered at the heart of Brackenridge Park for this year’s Words for Birds. Long part of National Poetry Month, this year’s offering—titled Words for Birds and The Trees They Live In—moved to Brackenridge Park from its usual location at Mitchell Lake Aubudon Center in recognition of the threats posed by development pressures and City policy to elder trees there, as well as the migratory birds those trees shelter.

Public hearings about the City’s plans to remove more than 100 trees from the headwaters of the historic park (and harass migratory birds away from a desired outdoor events space) continue after the Historic and Design Review Committee rebuffed City staff’s tree removal request earlier this year. However, dialogue is tightly controlled. Online events on YouTube and Facebook have comments turned off. And the scoping-style hearings have not allowed for direct Q&A with the audience. Deceleration has repeatedly shown how City staff have misled the public regarding the 2017 Bond park project’s goals and objectives. The next hearing is Tuesday night at the Witte Museum.

PUBLIC HEARING: Brackenridge Park 2017 Bond Project, 6pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MC’ed by W4B founder Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Words for Birds and the Trees They Live In featured a dozen poetic luminaries and bird protectors, including Jennifer Yañez-Alaniz, Sharon Ankrum, Marisol Cortez, Charles Darnell, Cyra Dumitru, Victoria Fennell, Alesia Garlock, Jean Hackett, Ceiba ili, Patricia Keoughan, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, D. Ellis Phelps, and Rod Rodriguez.

All readings (and info about the City’s proposed bird and tree eviction) are captured in the video up top. Select images are offered below.

Lastly, below is “A Visual Poem for Trees and Birds,” a multimedia collaboration between poets Kamala Platt and (Decel Co-Editor) Marisol Cortez, with choreography by Rosie Torres, and some photographs by Greg Harman.

Words for Birds and the Trees They Live In, 2022

Images: Greg Harman


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