2019 Performers

A poet in the hand is worth more than two in the book…

URBAN-15 is excited to present the 6th annual MEGA CORAZÓN, an seven-hour literary livestream. Celebrating a hybrid poetic tradition that combines street, classical, and slam performance styles, Mega Corazon features the best in South Texas-based performance poetry.

Part of National Poetry Month activities, this year’s Mega Corazon will take place on Monday, April 1st from 10am-1pm and 6pm-10pm CST. Performances are filmed live in our studio and, for those based locally, can be viewed in person like any other performance event. But if you can’t make it in person, we also stream LIVE, ONLINE, and IN REAL TIME via our internet broadcasting system, and across multiple platforms–from la mera mera Mega Corazon de Tejas to your computer, tablets, gaming systems or smart phone! This livestream is accessible free of charge and without a password on our website at urban15.org/live-stream.

Watch performance excerpts from the 2016 Mega Corazon

The first three hours of the performance (10am-1pm) are youth-focused and ideal for middle and high school grades (though of interest to all poetry-lovers). If you are an educator or youth-serving community center and are interested in broadcasting Mega Corazon to your students–or any other group you work with–please contact us at events@urban15.org or call us at 210-736-1500. 

An in-progress lineup for this year’s Mega Corazon is below. Keep checking back for a final list!

GreggBarriosGregg Barrios is a playwright, teacher, journalist and poet. He is the author of LA VERDAD: History of a Chicano Newspaper and LA CAUSA, a poetry collection. Barrios is 2017 Harvard NEH Fellow and currently a 2018 Yale University Fellow.

Jesse CardonaJesse Cardonaa veteran teacher of Texas schools and currently an English teacher at Incarnate Word H. S., has received several awards as a creative writing teacher, including the Imagineer Award, the Trinity University Prize for Teaching Excellence and the Ford Salute in the Arts Award. His poetry book Pan Dulce was published in 1998 by Chili Verde Press, and his poetry has been published in literary journals and anthologies, most recently in Literary San Antonio. He twice won a Gemini Ink “Voz de San Antonio Spoken Word Champion Award,” and in 216 his “Bato Con Khakis” poem was selected for performance at the New York City Symphony Space.

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A nepantlera rooted in San Antonio, Texas, Marisol Cortez is a creative writer and community-based scholar whose work walks between artistic, activist, and academic worlds. Her current projects include a novel entitled Luz at Midnight; I Call on the Earth, a poetry chapbook; and Deceleration, an online journal of environmental justice thought and practice, co-edited alongside environmental journalist Greg Harman. Her poetry and prose have been published in About Place Journal, Caigibi, Metafore Magazine, Outsider Poetry, Orion, Voices de la Luna, and La Voz de Esperanza. For more information on current projects and previous publications, visit her website at https://marisolcortez.wordpress.com/

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Anthony “The Poet” Flores is a 3-time San Antonio Grand Slam Poetry Champion & has represented our city in competition on six different occasions at the National Poetry Slam. He has performed his work all over the United States, from local schools & community centers to H.B.O.’s Def Poetry Jam to the famous Lincoln Center in New York City. He is a co-founder of Fresh Ink Under-21 Youth Poetry Slam, the only on-going poetry slam & open-Mic for teenagers in San Antonio, & he is also a judge for S.A.’s La Voz City-Wide Spoken Word Competition.



Eduardo C. Garza has presented Jazz poetry, also known as spoken word, beginning in 1977 in Austin, Corpus Christi, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and San Antonio, Texas. Although it has had other names, such as Teatro Poecia, Jazz Poet Society, The Jazz Poets of San Antonio continue to provide a stage for poets/musicians/artists to express themselves through poetry and music.



Jim L-HJim LaVilla-Havelin is an educator, arts administrator, community arts advocate, consultant, critic and poet. His fifth book of poems, WEST, POEMS OF A PLACE was just published by Wings Press. LaVilla-Havelin is the Poetry Editor for the San Antonio Express-News and the Coordinator for National Poetry Month in San Antonio.

LaVilla-Havelin retired in 2013 after seventeen years as the Director of the Young Artist Programs at the Southwest School of Art, to write, teach, and consult. He teaches Creative Writing in the Go Arts Program of Bihl Haus Art, in the Writers in Communities program at Gemini Ink, where he teaches at the Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Correctional Treatment Center, and in the BFA program at the Southwest School of Art, where he teaches The Image of the Artist in Literature and Cinema.

He has offered workshops, classes, and public programs for the McNay, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Independent School District, Georgetown Poetry Festival, Gemini Ink, and many other sites. He lives in Lytle, Texas (the “place” of “poems of a place” with his wife, artist Lucia LaVilla-Havelin.

Don MathisDon Mathis is a poet and a journalist in San Antonio. His poems have appeared on national radio, local television, and in countless anthologies, magazines, and other periodicals, while his articles have appeared in various media across Texas. Don has brought Walt Whitman to the JumpStart Theatre, Daniel Pearl World Music Days, and various clubs and organizations. He is a member of Sun Poets Society, Gemini Ink, and past president of Texoma Poetry Society and Alamo Area Poets of Texas. Find Don’s poem, “Granddaddy’s Knife” (a winner of the 2019 Poetry on the Move Contest) on VIA buses in April. And join him for “Writers Take a Walk” at the San Pedro Creek Culture Park on April 13.


Naomi Shihab Nye has written or edited around 35 books of poetry and prose. Her most recent collection of poems is Transfer and her short short fiction stories are There is No Long Distance Now. She has been working as a vagabond itinerant writer in schools and communities (including Doha, Qatar, and Mumbai, India in 2014) for a very long time and still likes it.




Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014) and the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio, TX. His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography 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. Reviews of his work can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. You can check out his visual poems in Gold Wake Live, Newfound, Chachalaca Review and Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal. His visual work has been featured in the AllState Almaguer Art Gallery in Mission, TX and an exhibit is forthcoming at The Weslaco Museum. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Find him on Instagram @writeroctavioquintanilla & Twitter @OctQuintanilla

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Andrea Sanderson (poet, singer, hip hop artist), known on stage as ‘Vocab,’ has been a spoken word artist since 2001.  She serves as a creative Writer In the Community for Gemini Ink and co-hosts 2nd Verse, Jazz & Poetry with a Purpose, and various events around the state of Texas. Her poetry is published in The Texas Observer (January 2016), Pariah Anthology (SFA Press, March 2016), and Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Groove Publishing, January 2017), which is nominated for a Bram Stoker’s Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. She released a long anticipated single, “Waiting For Me,” in December of 2017. In January of 2018, she received two awards, Influencer of the Year 2017 and Dream Voice, and appeared on the cover of The San Antonio Current.


John Phillip Santos is Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Mestizo Cultural Studies in the UTSA Honors College.  The first Latino Rhodes Scholar with degrees from Oxford University and the University of Notre Dame, Santos is a widely published journalist, Emmy-nominated documentary producer with CBS News and PBS/WNET, and author of a book of poems and two memoirs, one of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has previously taught at Brown University and directed a $42M portfolio in media, arts, and culture at the Ford Foundation. Most recently, he has collaborated on public art and “word art” narrative components of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park, including the libretto for an original opera. In 2017, he was awarded the Texas Medal of the Arts.


Dr. Carmen Tafolla, the first City Poet Laureate of San Antonio and the 2015 State Poet Laureate of Texas, is a native of the West Side barrios of San Antonio. Called by Rigoberto Gonzalez “the Zora Neale Hurston of the Chicano community”, Tafolla is the author of more than thirty books and recipient of numerous awards including the Americas Award, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, three ALA Notable Books, five International Latino Book Awards, and the Art of Peace Award, for work which contributes to peace, justice, and human understanding. She has performed her one-woman dramatic show widely in Europe, Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand. She is currently Professor of Transformative Children’s Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and President of the Texas Institute of Letters. Tafolla is currently at work on the adult biography of noted Chicana civil rights leader Emma Tenayuca.


Juan Tejeda is a retired Instructor of Music and Mexican American Studies at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas. He and his wife, Anisa Onofre, are Co-Publishers/Editors of Aztlan Libre Press, and he is also the button accordionist and vocalist for the musical ensemble, Conjunto Aztlan.






Born in Mexico and raised in San Antonio, Natalia Treviño is the author of Lavando La Dirty Laundry (Mongrel Empire Press 2014) and Virgin X (Finishing Line Press 2018). She is a Professor of English at Northwest Vista College and a Board member of the Macondo Writers Workshop.  She completed her Master’s degree in English at UT San Antonio and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska. Her poems have won numerous awards, including the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and the San Antonio Arts Foundation Literary Award. Her poetry appears in several journals including The Taos Journal of Art and Poetry, Bordersenses, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, Sliver of Stone, and Voices de la Luna. Her work also appears in the poetry anthology, Inheritance of Light and Curbstone Press’s short fiction anthology, Mirrors Beneath the Earth; her nonfiction essays appear in Shifting Balance Sheets: Women’s Stories of Naturalized Citizens and Complex Allegiances: Constellations of Immigration and in the forthcoming Latinx Poetics anthology from UNM press.  Having experienced a bi-national childhood, she hopes to raise understanding between people on both sides of the Rio Grande.

Frances Trevino

Frances Treviño Santos‘s publications include Cayetana: Poems (2007, Wings Press), A Certain Attitude: Poems By Seven Texas Women, The Laughter of Doves (2001, Wings Press) and a chapbook, Mama & Other Tragedies (both Pecan Grove Press). She was a 1999 Fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities for integrating U.S. Latino Literature into the secondary classroom. In 2000 she received the Premio Poesia Tejana, and in 2001 was awarded a grant from the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. From 1999-2002, she was a member of “Women of Ill-Repute: Refute!,” a performance group that deconstructed issues of culture and identity.


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Though born and raised in McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Eduardo Vega has called San Antonio his home for many of the last twenty years. A career educator, he’s taught locally, as well as in the Napa Valley, Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and the Uxpanapa Valley in Oaxaca.  As a spoken word artist, he has been a featured performer at
and Viva Poesia at the Mission Marquee Plaza. He was a member of the Blah Poetry Spot Slam team that competed at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam last summer and was a finalist for La Voz de San Antonio.  Most recently, he had one of his poems selected for Love Poems to San Antonio and visibly displayed the Plaza de Armas building in downtown San Antonio.  He is a member of the Taco Council of Texas.

Mobi WarrenMobi Warren is a poet, translator, and retired math educator from San Antonio, Texas. She studied Ancient Greek at the University of Texas at Austin and holds a Masters degree in Multidisciplinary Sciences from the University of the Incarnate Word. In 1977, she sailed the South China Sea with a project to rescue Vietnamese refugees, the “boat people,” and she is the translator of the children’s book The Dragon Prince: Stories and Legends from Vietnam by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as his biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds. She has worked as a professional storyteller and as a puppeteer in an art museum and has taught mathematics to all grades from kindergarten to high school seniors.