District 4 is a poetry event held every third Thursday at Jarrod’s Coffee and Tea in downtown Mesa that caters to local poets hoping to read their work in front of an audience. District 4 poetry is sponsored by Anthology Inc, a phoenix based literary non-profit that is, “dedicated to promoting poetry and associated literary arts in the greater Phoenix community by providing opportunities for artists to perform their work and by making the literary arts accessible to a diverse audience.”
Anthology Inc. broke ground in 1990 with the publication of Anthology magazine and pushed to holding its first event, Essenzaslam poetry slam in 1994. Since then the organization has evolved to include readings, magazines, and hopefully a new publication. District 4 has hosted over 20 events at Jarrod’s Coffee and Tea since switching venues from Lo-Fi Coffee.
The move to Jarrod’s also brought along the organizations first featured poets. Every month District 4 poetry holds an open-mic poetry reading for members of the literary community and novices alike.District 4 prides itself on being an open space for all poets regardless of their skill level. Alongside the open-mic readings District 4 sponsors appearances from featured poets from across the valley.
Every other month featured poets are invited to present their craft alongside open mic readers.
Past poets have included Marcos Pico Renteria, Giancarlo Huapaya, Tajinder Virdee, Tristan Marshell, and The Klute. Jennifer Gladis is a student at Mesa Community College working on her creating writing certificate at the English department. Gladis has been attending District 4 readings for around 6 months.
They are conveniently located attends the District 4 readings for their convenience but stays for the atmosphere. Gladis says about the community at District 4, “I like the people here. It’s always a variety and it seems like every poetry night there’s a different vibe or a different kind of subtle theme running though the night.”District 4 functions almost entirely from donated funds and volunteer labor. Volunteers and organizers like Ari Huerta-Crummey give their time and effort to help organize and run the events.
Crummey attributes some of the success of the event to the features the organization selects, “a wide range of people from across the valley that have a presence already and that have a group of followers. We have a group of people all the time coming in to our nights.” Anthology Inc. is continuing to grow and is planning to put out a collection called “The Salt of the South”.
District 4 hopes to start taking submissions for their publication in October.