ABOUT

Our Place

The SOMOS place for words in Taos is 108 Civic Plaza Drive, within the emerging Civic Plaza Cultural Corridor. Our space has a large room that doubles as a book store and a salon for literary gatherings, two separate classrooms, a ten-space parking lot in back, and lots of on-street parking out front. The building itself has three spaces, and our current unit consists of two of the three spaces. The third, a rental unit, gives us income now and offers space for future growth. Although SOMOS moved into this place in May 2016, it wasn’t until early 2019 that it became 100 percent our place.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
—RALPH WALDO EMERSON

An unexpected bequest received in late 2016 from Sue Carol Francis of Fort Collins, Colorado, allowed SOMOS to dream of a brighter future. Shortly afterward, the building SOMOS was renting was put up for sale. Using the bequest to make a down payment, SOMOS embarked on an unknown journey. The goal was to raise enough money to purchase the property at 108 Civic Plaza Drive and secure a permanent place for words in Taos, New Mexico. It was a journey that you became part of—through sharing our story, contributing to the capital campaign, and believing it was possible.

In early 2019, the grand accumulation of this generosity allowed SOMOS to pay off the building. It is now our permanent home. And what a home it is! With book-lined walls and room for readings, workshops, conferences and gatherings, it also invites more dreaming.

SOMOS, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest, is situated in Northern New Mexico, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost range of the Rocky Mountains. This biologically diverse region contains a variety of life zones, from alpine tundra to coniferous forests, desert shrub lands to riparian areas. All of these unique habitats contribute to the richness of our biocultural home. Most zones have specific trees associated with them, from the high-altitude aspens to the river willows. These trees are especially generous givers of life within their area of influence, as are you.

Thank you for giving SOMOS such a beautiful home.

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN DONORS

Aspen
High-elevation aspens are some of the largest and oldest individuals on the planet; one genetic individual can exist as multiple “stems” connected underground by an extensive root system.

Sue Carol Francis
Martin Foundation
Anonymous
Anonymous, too

Spruce
Engelmann and blue spruce grow at high altitudes with snowpack and provide protective thermal cover for deer, elk, bighorn sheep and bear.

Anonymous
Wes Patterson
Jessica Lindsey
Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation

Ponderosa
Ponderosa pine grow straight and tall, and their name comes from the feminine form of “ponderosus,” which means “strong” and “powerful” in Latin.

Janet Webb in memory of Joyce Appleby
Maddox Foundation
Natalie Goldberg
Prudy & John Abeln
Lyn Bleiler & Charles Strong Fund
Leigh & Doug Conant
Esperanza del Corazon Donor Advised Fund
Polly Raye & Bill Christmas
Stephen Rose & Barbara Zaring
Mimi & Andrew Ting
Jocelyn Harper

Piñon
Pinon trees are famous for their delicious nuts, which provide food to many species, including humans.

Linda Fair
Kate O’Neill in honor of Phyllis Hotch
Gus Foster
Andrea Watson
Chevron
Janet & John Mockovciak
The Taos News
Kathleen Brennan
Lucy & Dirk Herrman
Jenny Attiyeh
Betty & Cid Backer
Barbara Brenner
Susan Embry
David & Carol Farmer
Baksim Goddard
Carolyn Haddock
Alford Johnson & Jane Farmer
Yale and Barbara Jones
Daniel Ladinsky
Brigid Meier
Kandace & Gunther Nachtrab
Sally Savage
Robert Silver in appreciation of Bonnie Lee Black
Wendy & Chris Stagg
Catherine Strisik
Lenita & Henk Van der Werff
Annell Livingston
Anonymous

Juniper
Junipers are slow-maturing trees that can thrive in low-quality soils; their berries provide food for many animals.

Marjorie Felser
Rick Finney & Jerry Walter
John & Peggy Hamilton
Terrie Mangat
Andrea Szekeres
Casa Gallina, An Artisan Inn
Laurie Dunn

Cottonwood
Cottonwood trees grow along the rivers of the Southwest, providing shade and cooling the waters.

Thomas and Deborah Buckley
Linda & Dan Cassidy
Holly & Tom Azzari
Betsy Wessler
Billy & Lynn Knight
Margery Reading
Bob & Linda Attiyeh
Tibby Gold
Scott Archer Jones
Paule Marx
Renze Nesbit
Donna Norquist
Joan Ryan
Julie First
Donna & William Dufresne
Bette Myerson
Linn Bayne
Mya Coursey & Wally Cox
Cindy Daneill
Robert Benjamin
Kathy Claunch
Ellen Wood
Sara Jean Gray
Jean Kenin
Maureen Moore
Connie Ode
Pamela Shepherd
Connie Taylor
Dori Vinella
Christine Westover
Minna White
William McNamee
Anonymous
Linda Harkey
KOKO Coffee/Deli/Carry-Out
Michael Burwell
Eileen Wiard
Liza Crosse
Alan Macrae
Richard Rubin

Willow
River willows grow along the stream banks offering important habitat and protection for birds and other animals.

Margo Chamberlain
Karen Kerschen
Diane Singerman
Kathryn Crawley
William Crawley
Meredith Garcia
Bonnie Korman
Frank Oatman
James Schultz
Mirabai Starr
Robin Reese
Lewis Greiner
Ariana Kramer
Waltraud Ilse Kuerschner
Lyn and Louis Colombo
Allegra Huston
Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan
Dianne Vona
Joan Kandel
Gaia Mika
Anonymous
Maria T. Garcia
Kathleen Fowler
Tammy Georgallides
Indigo Ocean Dutton
Elizabeth Crittenden-Palacios
Elizabeth Karpov
Cindy Brown
Ria Burnett
Christy Holden
Ed Lehner
Francesca Grano
Kathy Goss
Debra Shoemaker
Jane Engel
Kathleen Knoth
Susan McIntosh
Richard Seidman

HISTORY

Taos, New Mexico, has long been a haven for the creative soul. Since the arrival of literary notables Willa Cather and D.H. Lawrence in the early twentieth century, literature has played a prominent role in the area’s rich cultural landscape. As the literary arts flourished, the need for formal community support became apparent, which ultimately led to the nonprofit incorporation of SOMOS, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest, in 1983.

Since then, we have expanded into our present role as a respected literary resource center whose outreach extends to the greater community of Northern New Mexico— and beyond. Our live readings, workshops, conferences, and festivals not only showcase accomplished writers but also encourage creativity in novice writers from all walks of life. Our e-newsletter will keep you informed about literary events and writers’ opportunities; sign up now .

SOMOS is a membership organization. The generosity of our supporters allows us to honor our commitment of presenting the very best of the literary arts to the Taos area at little or no cost when possible. We cordially invite you to join us in answering the call of the Muse of the Southwest.

MISSION STATEMENT: We support and nurture the literary arts, written and spoken, by providing both place and resources for writers, readers, and learners while honoring the cultural diversity of Taos and the Southwest.

BOARD

Alan Macrae

Alan Macrae

President

Author of Mud, Space and Spirit, the pioneering book of New Mexico 60’s architecture, a native New Mexican and local builder, he is also a published poet and novelist.

Janet Webb

Janet Webb

Vice President

Janet was the owner of Webb Design Inc., a design and marketing company focused on the tourism industry and the fine arts arena, until her retirement in 2015. She is involved with several other Taos arts organizations – Paseo Project, Harwood Museum of Art, included. She has lived in Taos since 1974.

Prudy Abeln

Prudy Abeln

Treasurer

BA in Political Science/Education from Colorado College and an MBA from the University of Utah. Most of her career Prudy was a Mortgage Loan Officer with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She is Past President of Taos Association of B&B Inns as well as immediate Past President of New Mexico Bed & Breakfast Association (NMBBA).  She is also a past Assistant Governor for Rotary District 5520.

Kathy Fitzgerald

Kathy Fitzgerald

Magna cum laude in English from Harvard University. Interpreter for national Italian TV station in Rome, Italy; worked at Boston’s PBS TV station; co-founder of Ithaca Films, a film production entity; board member of Poet’s Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts; in California was active on boards such as Global Fund for Women. She and her husband, Michael, have produced numerous films shot across the world including several set in the southwest, “The Three Burials,” and “The Homesman.”

Colette LaBouff

Colette LaBouff

Colette is Executive Director of the Taos Center for the Arts. She has an MFA in poetry a Ph.D. in English from University of California, Irvine. She is the author of “Mean”(U. of Chicago Press, 2008), a book of prose poems, and “Holdings,” a text-object forthcoming from Container Press in 2019. She is currently the Poetry Editor at Zócalo Public Square.

Maria Garcia

Maria Garcia

Maria served on the SOMOS Board in the 90s and was an active participant in a number of the programs. She felt the organization filled a unique niche in our community.  Because of her work with the U.S. Forest Service, Maria left Taos in 2004 and returned in 2017.  Rejoining the Board in 2019, she hopes to help broaden the audience of people who are drawn to the readings, workshops, conferences and festivals SOMOS offers.

STAFF

Jan Smith

Jan Smith

Executive Director

Jan Smith has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, was the curator of theSOMOS Summer/Winter Writers Series from 2009-2015, and is currently the Executive Director of  SOMOS. She is a 2012 recipient of an award from Southwest Writers for her short story, “Breasts,” and a 2014 first place award winner for an excerpt from her memoir,” Blink Like Crazy.”

Ariana Kramer

Ariana Kramer

Development and Communications Director; Poetry Month Curator

Raised in Taos, Ariana holds a BA in Biology (Reed College) and an MS in Leadership in Ecology, Culture & Learning (Portland State University). She has worked for many nonprofits in roles including volunteer, office manager, educator, program and volunteer coordinator, executive assistant and director. She is a freelance writer and poet. 

Johanna Debiase

Johanna Debiase

Prose Month Curator

Johanna DeBiase is the author of Mama & the Hungry Hole (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015). She writes from New Mexico where she has been spellbound by the energy vortex of Taos Mountain for over a dozen years. Originally from New York, she earned her BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Bard College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her creative work—including short stories, flash fiction and video poems— has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Portland Review, Atticus Review, Monkeybicycle, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Convergence and Prick of the Spindle, among others. When she is not writing, she teaches yoga, collages, sells vintage clothing and cooks vegetarian food for her daughter and husband. Visit johannadebiase.com for more information.

Isobel O'Hare

Isobel O'Hare

Young Writers Program Curator; Administrative Assistant

Isobel O’Hare is a poet and essayist who has dual Irish and American citizenship. She is the author of three chapbooks and the collection all this can be yours (University of Hell Press). O’Hare earned an MFA in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has been the recipient of an award from Split This Rock and a residency from The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico (which led her to settle permanently in Taos). In addition to writing, O’Hare runs the journal and small press Dream Pop. Find out more at isobelohare.com

James Navé

James Navé

Taos Storytelling Festival Director

James Navé is a  facilitator, poet, and storyteller at Imaginative Storm Workshops. He attended UNC & Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA) and Lives in NYC, Asheville, Taos, & Paris. He has been the Taos Storytelling Festival Director since 2017.

FRIENDS

New Mexico Arts Organizations

Department of Cultural Affairs

Created in 1978, the Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico’s arts and cultural heritage agencies. These include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services.

http://www.newmexicoculture.org/index.php

 

New Mexico Arts

A division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. NMArts’ primary function is to provide financial support for arts services and programs to non-profit organizations statewide and to administer the 1% public art program for the state of New Mexico.

http://nmarts.org

 

Taos Arts & Cultural Organizations

Taos Arts Council

A non-profit organization working to ensure that Taos County has a vibrant, vital and active arts environment.

http://www.taosartscouncil.org

 

Cultural Energy Independent Radio

Creating Media Voices for Youth, Arts & Activism in Northern New Mexico. Listen to SOMOS writers series, generously recorded by Robin Collier and posted online.

http://www.culturalenergy.org/somos.htm

 

Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico

The museum collection brings to the public a unique record of Taos’s artistic convergence from its beginnings to the present day. It is a cultural center that presents the art of the region while also serving as an important educational asset to northern New Mexico.

http://harwoodmuseum.org

 

Taos Art Museum at the Fechin House

The museum engages and inspires through historic preservation and interpretation of the Fechin House, studio and gardens; through rich, relevant programs based on the collections and exhibitions, and a commitment to building cultural literacy and creative opportunity…

https://www.taosartmuseum.org/

 

Taos Center for the Arts

TCA, as arts council, public leader, partner and catalyst inspires creative expression throughout this diverse community by providing facilities and programming and education in the visual, performing and media arts.

http://www.tcataos.org

 

Taos Onstage

Taos Onstage’s Mission is to present quality plays, create open opportunities for community members to develop their talents, and support the community by donating to community organizations.

http://www.taosonstage.com

 

Taos Information Resources

BeyondTaos Blog

Navigating the Cultural landscape of Taos and northern New Mexico.

http://www.beyondtaos.com

 

TAOS.org

Published by the Town of Taos, this site features hotel information, driving tours, special offers from Taos businesses to visitors, and travel planning information.

http://taos.org

 

Town of Taos

The Town of Taos offers many visitor services, from the Taos Express to Taos Convention Center.

http://www.taosgov.com

 

Taos Book Stores

Brodsky Bookshop

Brodsky Bookshop in Taos New Mexico specializes in books on the Southwest United States, New Mexico, and Taos. The store is located at 226 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte.

http://taosbooks.com

 

Op Cit

Op Cit is a delightful Taos book store for all things literary, located in the home of the former Moby Dickens, 124A Bent Street, Taos.

http://johndunnshops.com/taos-shops/op-cit-books/

 

Optimysm

A metaphysical shop with an extensive book selection, 129 Kit Carson Road, Suite E.

https://optimysm.myshopify.com

 

Taos Publishers

3: A Taos Press

At the confluence of culture and creativity, an independent publisher committed to fostering and honoring the work of writers of all cultures.

 

Nighthawk Press

An independent publisher serving established and emerging authors in fiction and non-fiction genres, including creative non-fiction, essays, memoirs, and more.

http://nighthawkpress.com

Open Tues-Fri  10am-4pm; Sat 10am-2pm  575.758.0081  108 Civic Plaza Drive

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3225, Taos, NM 87571

THANK YOU TO OUR FUNDERS

SOMOS programs are made possible in part by these organizations: New Mexico Arts • Taos Community Foundation • The McCune Foundation • The National Endowment For The Arts • The Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation • The Peter And Madeleine Martin Foundation for the Arts • The Santa Fe Community Foundation • Taos County Lodgers Tax • The Richard B. Siegel Foundation • TaosNetLLC for high speed internet service 

SOMOS Sign, Taos, New Mexico