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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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New Poetry Editor for Sin Fronteras Journal

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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.

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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

Photo and Poem

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Actually, the poem came first.  The photo is an illustration.  It shows approximately the view through the window by my desk, which inspired the poem.

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Rest

Rock walls bound my back yard,
the gray of weathered wood
or a sensible suit, the no-color
of dust on the long disused.
At first, planting my garden,
I thought the walls dull, conceived
a plan to paint their flat stones
southwest yellow or Mexican red.

My limited skill prevented me
from adding such loud color.
The company of a young tree,
tall grasses, suits this border;
I’d have ruined a place of rest,
the calm of gray without pretense.

 

Sin Fronteras Issue #21 is Out

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As one of the poetry editors for Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal, I am very happy to report that this year’s issue is now out.

sf 210001The cover art is by Tom Holland (www.tomhollandsouthwestart.com)

This issue includes poetry by:
Michael Berton, Zoë Bird, Terry Blanchard, Janet Cannon, Blair Cooper, Beth Copeland, Erin Cummiskey, Ruth Deming, Claudette Franzoy , Grace Marie Grafton, Richard Green, Kenneth Gurney, Lois Marie Harrod, Lisa Hase-Jackson, Terry Hertzler, Diane Kendig, Sandra Kolankiewicz, Jane Lipman, Nadine Lockhart, Eileen Malone, John Mannone, Jayne Marek, Carolyn Martin, Angela McCabe, LeeAnn Meadows, Mary Oertel-Kirschner, Marilyn O’Leary, Simon Perchik, Claire Scott, Michael G. Smith, Joseph Somoza, Joanne Townsend, Frank Varela, Phyllis Wax, Sarah Brown Weitzman, Michelle Wing, and Matt Zambito

And prose by Reuben Sanchez, Robert Joe Stout and Bill Vernon.

We think we’ve got some good writing here.  To find out more, go to http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com.

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