Sawnie Morris - Taos Poet Laureate: Jan 2018
SOMOS and the Town of Taos are pleased to announce the selection of the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Taos, Sawnie Morris. The Poet Laureate initiative, created by SOMOS in conjunction with the Town of Taos, will raise awareness of Taos as a national center for the contemporary literary arts, in keeping with the area’s historic importance as a gathering place for prominent writers and artists.
Morris will attend a Town Council meeting on January 23, 2018, along with SOMOS Director, Jan Smith, who will announce the Poet Laureate Position. Morris will share a poem with Mayor Barrone and Town Council members, as well as the public-in-attendance.
The Inaugural Taos Poet Laureate is a nationally recognized poet, whose full-length collection of poems, Her, Infinite won the 2015 New Issues Press Poetry Award, (judge: Major Jackson). Other recent honors include Poets & Writers “Five Over Fifty” (2016); the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize (2016); inclusion in Best American Experimental Poetry: 2016 (Wesleyan University Press), Renga for Obama (Harvard Review, 2016), and Poetry (2017). Morris also received a Poetry Society of America Award in 2010 and was co-winner of the New Mexico Book Award for poetry, in 2007.
With funding from the Witter Bynner Foundation and with approval from the Town of Taos, SOMOS recruited four judges and announced open applications in October, 2017, for the inaugural Taos Poet Laureate position to begin a two year term on January 1, 2018. After review of the applications, which included three poems and a vision statement for the position, the judges selected Morris, in mid-December, 2017. The four judges included Ceramic Sculptor artist: Deborah Rael-Buckley; Middle School teacher and Town Councilman: Nathaniel Evans; Director of the UNM Library: Kathleen Knoth; and musician/artist/writer: Joshua Concha.
SOMOS Young Writers Salon collaboration with STEMarts@ThePASEO
For Youth Ages 12 to 18
“Who are the monsters in your life?”
Write about the monsters you know.
Record your poem at Cultural Energy Radio
The winning entry will be presented at Paseo Party on the Plaza September 23, 2017
Monsters Real Monsters
When I was little
I used to be afraid of a monster I
believed was living in my closet
beady glaring eyes watching me in the dark like
headlights on highbeam glaring out into the night
enveloping you like a blanket of tar
I’d imagined his growl would sound like the crumbling of
Thinking about it used to make me cry
my family would always comfort me by saying that
monsters weren’t real
but then I grew up
and I still saw monsters real monsters but in
I saw monsters in the sound of breaking glass
I saw monsters in the shadows of the hallway
I saw them in the needle my mother used
See when you grow up
monsters are no longer the boogey man with
sharp teeth and deadly claws
monsters are the man who came into my life
and treated me like the dolls they use in courtrooms
people who take advantage of you
as if my chest was a windshield
and his fist a baseball bat
monsters are people who have the audacity to
steal the very thing that makes your heart
flutter and tack its wings to their wall
monsters don’t need big gaping jaws to kill you
in most cases all they need is your name
see people don’t grow out of monsters
but you can grow into them.
By A Youth at DreamTree Project
My stars and stripes
lurk behind every corner.
A reminder that they thought we were always different.
Dirty, in some way,
made us poorer than the church mice that
We came here looking
But I gave you a bloodline of oppression.
without a heart
instead 50 stars on my body
Where all men are created equal
Where men and women who were born here
Have to look behind them and can’t help thinking
that they aren’t the same.
Where tear gas and the reservation and
They have First Amendment rights too.
You can’t cover our mouths now.
By Grace Carmona-Young
I am a drunk
Stumbling down the boulevard of my mind
Unsure footsteps down granite
Each inch forward cautious as it is wanted
I’m not quite sure if I’m lost
Or this is exactly what I’m looking for
I am a drunk
Only the alcohol of my choice isn’t one that can just be purchased at a market
It’s the pounding of my heart, butterflies in my stomach, dilating pupils
I can’t resist the corners of my lips curling up into a smile, almost as if they were
pulled by strings
The warm feeling I get in my chest as I feel large hands snake around my waist
Holding me as if I was the only thing keeping his feet tethered to the ground
We’re both drunk
But in the best kind of way
Hands craving nothing more than to touch one another
Lips colliding as if their touch was what had created the stars and galaxies themselves
Feelings running through us so fast like matches being scratched down a hearth
Creating fires strong enough to wash out hell
Two halves creating a single whole
Like the day and night working in tandem
Though each are giving you something equally beautiful
It’s feeling is completely unmatched
Anyone who gets to experience the wonder it rings
I hope they know just how fortunate they are to get to live something so out of body
Once you find it
And don’t let go for anything.
By A Youth at DreamTree Project
Most Definite Misunderstanding
Most children have a bed
material gain is in many heads,
but the places we sleep are pretentious
We cease thought of the ground
beneath our feet.
Our main interest is reaching
the top of this pyramid scheme,
wanting the knowledge of good and
evil and not the wisdom…to
know the difference.
By Robert Chavez Jr.
The calm rush of a river
An abandoned apartment
The squeak of a rusty swing
A rumbling storm cloud
They thrive off of these things
Bu I can’t call them monsters because they aren’t
A monster is determined by one’s actions
A monster under the bed
A kindred spirit
By Hana O’Brien Isikawa
The Things In-between
There are so many things we see, so many things we imagine. Then there are the things in-between. They’re neither real nor fantasy. They lurk in the shadows of our world, but we can never see or imagine them. There are things beyond our reach. They are there, but we can never touch them. They live in a land between earth and sky. A land where everything is black, an endless wasteland of debris. The human world has an impact on the land. It always shows what earth will look like, in a hundred years. Twenty years ago this place was a lush green forest. There were hills and flowers and streams. But lately it has been getting darker. Every day a creature dies. Every week a stream dries up. Every month, a fire starts. And every year our world becomes more of an endless wasteland.
By Flora Mack
A monster talks in the night
Whether real or in my head
It tells me I am useless, hated, no good
Tells me I have no place in this world
Leave get away from life for a while
I hate to admit that I am beginning to agree
That night I decide the monster is right
leaving only a note
I love you
It reads but I don’t know who it’s to
Running until my legs can’t carry me anymore
Then I stand on the bridge
Jump before I make you
It is my turn to speak
Promise me one thing
Promise me you will slow down
Promise me you won’t take life away from people so quickly
Like you did to me
Just promise me that
Falling I hear the monster laughing from the bridge
By Sasha Kushner
The nights they shut their doors were the coldest. The nights where they let it prey upon their minds were warmer. And then there were the times where the nights were fire and his soul turned to ice in recollection of the time when someone called him human. How all the fear and hate he needed to erase and sustain himself with slipped through his fingers and sometimes he wished he could be human. To live in the warm house and glance across the parlor at the girl with the sad eyes and the broken heart that could actually see him. And he knew he could erase the pain and soothe the anger and he knew that without him everyone would start to break down. It was hard to be a monster, even a good one. It was hard to be sleep. It was hard... to be time. It felt odd to say his name. Then again... it felt odd to say anything anymore.
By Ella Aquino