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
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
Engelmann and blue spruce grow at high altitudes with snowpack and provide protective thermal cover for deer, elk, bighorn sheep and bear.
Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation
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
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
Pinon trees are famous for their delicious nuts, which provide food to many species, including humans.
Kate O’Neill in honor of Phyllis Hotch
Janet & John Mockovciak
The Taos News
Lucy & Dirk Herrman
Betty & Cid Backer
David & Carol Farmer
Alford Johnson & Jane Farmer
Yale and Barbara Jones
Kandace & Gunther Nachtrab
Robert Silver in appreciation of Bonnie Lee Black
Wendy & Chris Stagg
Lenita & Henk Van der Werff
Junipers are slow-maturing trees that can thrive in low-quality soils; their berries provide food for many animals.
Rick Finney & Jerry Walter
John & Peggy Hamilton
Casa Gallina, An Artisan Inn
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
Billy & Lynn Knight
Bob & Linda Attiyeh
Scott Archer Jones
Donna & William Dufresne
Mya Coursey & Wally Cox
Sara Jean Gray
River willows grow along the stream banks offering important habitat and protection for birds and other animals.
Waltraud Ilse Kuerschner
Lyn and Louis Colombo
Maria T. Garcia
Indigo Ocean Dutton
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.
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 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.
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.
Olivia Romo is a farmer, poet and water rights activist from Taos, NM. She earned her dual Bachelor’s degrees in English and Chicana/o Studies from the University of New Mexico in 2015. Olivia is also a recognized spoken word artist and storyteller. In 2011, she was titled the New Mexico State Slam Poetry Champion. She was also nominated as a “Remarkable Woman of Taos” and “A Woman to Watch” for the 2013 community-wide celebration honoring outstanding Taoseñas.
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 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.
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.”
Development Coordinator; 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Taos Information Resources
Navigating the Cultural landscape of Taos and northern New Mexico.
Published by the Town of Taos, this site features hotel information, driving tours, special offers from Taos businesses to visitors, and travel planning information.
Town of Taos
The Town of Taos offers many visitor services, from the Taos Express to Taos Convention Center.
Taos Book Stores
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.
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.
A metaphysical shop with an extensive book selection, 129 Kit Carson Road, Suite E.
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.
An independent publisher serving established and emerging authors in fiction and non-fiction genres, including creative non-fiction, essays, memoirs, and more.
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