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Poetry in Las Cruces

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For several years now I have managed a monthly list of local literary events.  It has only now occurred to me that there are readers of this blog who are local who may not know about this list.  So here is the October edition.

And if you’re not local, this may give you a clue that southern New Mexico is a good place for writers.

Kery’s List is a monthly list of literary events in Southern New Mexico, distributed around the beginning of the month from August through May.  The address, if you’d like to be on it, is at the bottom.

 Tuesday, October 9, Branigan Library, 1:30 p.m.

John Coleman II will talk about his book The Outcome . . . One man’s journey to make a difference, a work of political fiction.  The talk will be in the Roadrunner Room of the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.  Refreshments will be served.  John Coleman II is a Naval Academy graduate who has given 24 years of service to his country. He has also rebuilt houses and antique automobiles, climbed the Grand Canyon, owned a deep-sea boat, been a strategic planner and public speaker. He now lives in New Mexico at the base of the Organ Mountains, where he writes both fiction and non-fiction books

 Friday, October 12, Hardman Jacobs Hall, NMSU, 7:30 p.m.

Prose writer Joshua Wheeler will read.  Wheeler is from Alamogordo. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, New Mexico State University and has an MFA in Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in many literary journals. He is a coeditor of the anthology, We Might as Well Call it The Lyric Essay. His first book is Acid West: Essays, of which a reviewer has written “He aims to put Southern New Mexico on the map.”

 Sunday, October 14, Truth or Consequences, 1:00 p.m.

The Black Cat Sunday Poets will continue to meet at the Geronimo Springs Museum on 211 Main Street through the winter, on the second Sunday of the month. Poets are welcome to come read their original work (up to 3 poems.) They offer an appreciative, nonjudgmental listening group & even have coffee & snacks.

Tuesday, October 16, Palacio Bar, 7:30 p.m.

Sin Fronteras open reading.  Bring 3 poems or 5 minutes of prose to read.  Sign up at 7:30, reading begins at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 20, Silver City, 2:00 p.m.

Just Words at the Tranquilbuzz Coffee House, at 112 W. Yankie St., features poets Eve West Bessier and Raven Drake, followed by open mic for poetry and short prose.

Sunday, October 21, Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, Albuquerque, 2:00 p.m.

Las Cruces poets Dick Thomas and Joe Somoza will be doing a poetry reading. Jules’ Poetry Playhouse is at 1001 5th St. NW.

Kery’s List is managed by K. Ellen Roberts Young.  To subscribe, unsubscribe, or contribute information, email: keryslist@cs.com.

 

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Late Summer in the Garden

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Something finally brought me back to the blog after a rather frantic summer.  A picture of a weed.

velcro plantWell, most people call it a weed, but I consider it a wildflower.  It’s current popular name is velcro plant; it was formerly called stickleaf.  If you pull it up you will find out why.  It’s proper name is said to be Mentzelia.  This particularly fine specimen is growing at the edge of our pool deck.

Since I had the camera out, I looked around to see what else is currently showing off.  Here is my hummingbird bush.

butterfly-bush.jpg

Like most of my garden, it is doing just fine being neglected.  Across the yard from this is my tallest grass plant.

p1010093.jpgWhat you see is the top half of the high wall that holds up the ground of the house behind us and a very little of the great mound of leaves which supports these feathery spikes of seed.  In the mornings small birds land on the seed heads and weigh them down.

I have never learned the proper name of this giant grass.  As for the hummingbird bush I have looked it up more than once, but don’t remember.  So much to learn, so much else to occupy the mind.

 

New Poetry Editor for Sin Fronteras Journal

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Frank reading '15 025

Frank Varela reading in 2015  Photo by Jill Somoze

After the loss of poetry editor Terry Hertzler this spring, we are delighted to have poet Frank Varela step in to help with Sin Fronteras Journal.  Brooklyn born, Frank is the author of four books of poetry, Serpent Underfoot, Bitter Coffee, Caleb’s Exile and, most recently, Diaspora.  His children’s stories have been published by Riverside Publishing Company and Arte Publico Press.  He worked as a librarian in Chicago, where he was named Hispanic Librarian of the Year by the Illinois Secretary of State in 1997.  He now lives in Las Cruces, and is joining Joanne Townsend, former poet laureate of Alaska, and Ellen Young, who does useful things like sending out announcements and downloading the emails, to complete the trio of poetry editors for issue #23.

Submissions to the Journal (poetry or prose) are welcome until June 30.  Go to http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com/submissions and follow the directions.

Weaving the Terrain: Southwestern Poems

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Weaving the Terrain0001Weaving the Terrain is a large collection edited by David Meischen and Scott Wiggerman.  It contains 211 poems, by many poets—a minority of the contributors have supplied more than one poem.  The subject matter ranges across the southwestern states and over many themes.  There are plenty of roadrunners, vultures and coyotes, historical moments both familiar and lesser known, and a lot of sand.  There are personal stories as well, events that “just happen” to take place in a southwestern locale.

The full subtitle is 100-word southwestern poems.  This challenge, it turns out, can be met in many ways, by many shapes and styles.  Instead of the usual blurbs on the back cover, the comments are about the interesting project of fitting poems to this measure.  Every hyphen or article changed the word count.  That effort, however, rarely is visible in the finished product.P1010054

I have a poem in this collection.  It’s in the section called “Half-Lives Slowly Ticking” but is primarily about one of those lesser known historical moments, the feud between cattleman Oliver Lee and lawyer Albert Fountain.

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This book seems to me primarily a book for poets, those who will explore the shapes and guess at the choices of various poems.  But I think it might provide much interest to those who imagine the southwest but have never been there.  A gift for prospective visitors?  Dos Gatos Press managed to keep the price for 235 pages of poetry to a reasonable $19.95.P1010059

I’ve illustrated this report with a few native plants from my garden: apache plume, a cactus, and my mesquite tree.  The tree is just leafing out and that is considered a trustworthy sign that it is safe to put out tender annuals.  Frost is over.

About the Iris

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The iris in the corner of my yard are out.  I’d been watching them from my desk.  Saturday morning they seemed still very tight.  Sunday afternoon several of them were waving their flags.

Iris0050

Here are some thoughts on how important such transient beauty is in the scope of our daily lives.  Thanks to a Two Sylvias Press prompt last year on “love and beauty in a terrible world.”

Balancing Act

The blue iris and the white,
white alyssum and purple mat
bloom in sandy spring winds.

Sitting beside you makes even
the building with one wall gone
bearable, though I get up to season

our thick bean soup to unsee
children carried on stretchers
after yesterday’s bombing.

We have news, a mute button,
an off switch.  And a camera
to record the short-lived iris blooms.

Sin Fronteras Journal Issue #22 is Out

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SF22 coverSin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders #22 is out.  It’s hard to believe that this is my seventh year as one of the editors, as other personnel have changed.

Our cover artist for this issue is local artist and poet, Katie McLane.

We have a number of bi-lingual poems and one poem presented complete in both English and Spanish. This is something I have had a major interest in expanding, since a border is, among other things, about language.  We’ve made some progress in this.

Poems about rivers, mountains and desert are included, as are poems about family and about loneliness. There are poems commenting on our own southern border, but also poems about September 11 and current troubles in the Middle East.

If you’d like to submit for Issue #23, consider this: this year’s editors will return next year, so it will give you a sense of what we like if you read a copy of Issue #22.

Submissions open April 1.  More information is available at http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com

Look Out of My Window

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The view from my desk lets me keep an eye on the yard.  When I begin work I often see small birds.  Later the doves take over.  All still seem to find good things to eat in the dried grass.

saltbush gold

 

 

The four-wing saltbush has taken on the gold of late autumn.  The chrysanthemum that somehow survives among the bushes is working hard to upstage it.

 

 

 

 

 

Leaves of the tall grass plant are turning purple.  At this stage it makes me think of shading done by an artist’s pencil.  big grass

 

 

The iron lily, a souvenir from Santa Fe, is strategically placed to cover a sprinkler head from an earlier life of this yard, when it was covered with grass.  When we moved in, nothing was left of that but the strings that once held the sod together.  It is by chance that it also makes a nice focal point from my window.

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