Poetry

Poet Laureate

Having a Taos Poet Laureate had been a dream of SOMOS for years. A generous grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation in 2017 made that dream a reality. The purpose of the Poet Laureate is to:

  • Build awareness and appreciation of poetry in the wider community.
  • Undertake projects that will make poetry more accessible to people in their everyday lives.
  • Celebrate poetry and the power of the written word while honoring the cultural diversity of our community. 

Catherine Strisik, a poet, teacher, editor and resident of Taos since 1983 has been selected as the new Taos Poet Laureate. This year’s judges include Darien Fernandez, Town Council Member; Bernadette Track, a former model for RC Gorman for 27 years, a Pueblo potter and teacher; Christy Schoedinger Coleman, the Director of the Taos Art Museum/Fechin House; and Kate Alderete, the Director of the Taos Town Library.

Strisik said, “It is such an honor to be selected as the Taos Poet Laureate – and I’m so excited to begin my project and spread the aesthetic of poetry throughout Taos County!” The first event for the Poet Laureate is a reading (with dinner) at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House on Saturday, 1/4/20 (FMI, contact somos@somostaos.org, or call 575-758-0081). She will also read at the opening of one of the town council meetings in 2020 and SOMOS will host a reception for her and Sawnie Morris in early winter at SOMOS.

Catherine Strisik is author of three poetry collections: Insectum Gravitis (Main Street Rag, November, 2019); The Mistress, New Mexico/AZ Book Award for Poetry 2017 (3: A Taos Press, 2016); Thousand-Cricket Song (Plain View Press 2010, 2nd printing, 2016), and manuscript-in-progress Aikaterína. She is co-founder/co-editor/consulting editor of Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been awarded much including grants, honors and residencies from The Puffin Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center, Lakkos/Crete Artist Residency, Truchas Peaks Place, and most recently from Parkinson’s Life Magazine in London. Numerous publications include Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Drunken Boat, Puerto del Sol, WatershedConnotation Press: An Online Artifact, Tusculum Review, and Poet Lore. Strisik, for over 35 years has taught group and private poetry workshops to children and adults in Taos. www.cathystrisik.com 

Her poetry project is Poetry in Nature entailing installation of nature poems on stones, walls, and pillars in natural environment locations in Taos written by living poets of Taos County. Please see submission guidelines and form (unavailable until May 1st 2020) below.

 

 

SUBMISSIONS SUBMISSIONS SUBMISSIONS for Taos’ Poetry in Nature Project

I welcome your poetry submissions and offer you the opportunity to be one of the poets selected to be installed as part of the Taos Poet Laureate Project

Dear Poets,

As Taos, New Mexico’s second Poet Laureate for the years 2020-2022, I proposed as my poetry project Poetry in Nature which is the installation of poems into natural settings on private and public properties in Taos County.  Being well-received, the following properties enthusiastically await poetry installations: Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico; Mabel Dodge Luhan House & Conference Center; John Dunn Shops in historical downtown Taos; and Rio Fernando Park. Please open the links to these properties to see where your poem might be installed if selected, with the possibility of other locations as the project takes shape. Please also follow this link to view an example of what a poem in nature looks like: Edmand’s Poetry in the Park Project inspired by Grey Held.

The submission process is as follows:

  • Poems will be accepted during only the month of May 2020.
  • Poems will be sensitive to the nature and culture of northern New Mexico, therefore those poems that are written in reaction to the immense natural setting of this area encouraged.
  • Poem Guidelines: no more than 14 lines including stanza breaks, with 45 characters max per line including spaces. If poems do not meet these guidelines they will not be read and considered.
  • Please note that submissions are limited to two poems submitted in a single file as word documents. Please include all writer contact info on a separate first page of the submitted file.
  • All poems will be read anonymously and carefully by Taos Poet Laureate, Catherine Strisik, and SOMOS Executive Director, Jan Smith.
  • No previously published poems.
  • $10.00 submission payment paid through PayPal to be used toward the Poetry in Nature Project.

Looking forward, gratefully,

Catherine Strisik 

 

 

A woman holding an open book. SOMOS in Taos, New Mexico.

Poetry Month

In celebration of National Poetry Month, held every year in April, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) is bringing poetry to Taos starting April 1. The month-long celebration curated by Ariana Kramer has been reconfigured to take place entirely online. It begins April 1 with a live online reading via Zoom videoconferencing with Taos Poet Laureate Catherine Strisik, Santa Fe poet Will Barnes and Taos Pueblo musician Benito Concha and an online Poetry and Art project in collaboration with Taos Arts Council.

 

On Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. Catherine Strisik and Benito Concha will broadcast poetry and music from their Taos locations, and Will Barnes will read his poetry from Santa Fe. Everyone is welcome to watch the free reading via Zoom videoconferencing. See below for instructions. If you do not already have a free Zoom account, please sign up at zoom.us prior to the reading. 

Catherine Strisik, Taos Poet Laureate 2020-2022, is author of three poetry collections: Insectum GravitisThe Mistress (New Mexico/AZ Book Award for Poetry 2017); and Thousand-Cricket Song. She is co-founder/consulting editor of  Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art; has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been awarded grants, residencies, and scholarships from Vermont Studio Center, Lakkos/Crete Artist Residency, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Truchas Retreat Center. Her numerous publications include Journal of Feminist Studies in ReligionDrunken BoatConnotation Press: An Online ArtifactComstock ReviewPoet Lore, Watershed.  For more than 37 years, she has lived and taught poetry workshops in Taos, New Mexico.Strisik’s reading for Poetry Month will be her Taos book launch for Insectum Gravitis. Her website is www.cathystrisik.com.

Benito Concha has performed throughout North America and in many countries with his music group Secret Souls. His style of drumming has paired him with musicians of all walks of life. As Taos Pueblo tribal member, he contributes many of his talents to his home and the surrounding community.Currently, Concha percussively incorporates grounded Taos Pueblo music instruments during a ‘Gourd Sound Healing’ treatment at Medicine Mountain Massage, which he owns and operates.

Will Barnes was raised in Colorado and has lived in Santa Fe for 31 years with his wife and three children. He is a writer, botanist and teacher and currently works for the New Mexico State Land Office as Deputy Director of Field Operations. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU. “Writing over, on top of, and into history, Barnes is a seeker and a tracker, a poet whose tracing gaze is poised to capture nature’s plain speech in all its complexity.” The Ledgerbook (3:A Taos Press, 2016) is his first book.  He has published essays and poems in the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art and has just completed his second manuscript of poems tentatively called The Country You Never Leave.

Zoom Link for April 1 Reading: 

https://zoom.us/j/996885507  

Meeting ID: 996 885 507

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On Saturday, April 11, at 4p.m. Veronica Golos and Gary Worth Moody will read poetry via Zoom.

Veronica Golos is the author of four poetry books: GIRL, awarded the international Naji Naaman Honor Prize for Poetry, (Beirut, Lebanon); Rootwork: Lost Writings of John Brown and Mary Day Brown (3: A Taos Press), Vocabulary of Silence (Red Hen Press), winner of the 2011 New Mexico Book Award, poems from which are translated into Arabic by poet Nizar Sartawi, and A Bell Buried Deep (Storyline Press,), co-winner of the 16th Annual Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, adapted for stage and performed at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband, David Pérez.

Gary Worth Moody is the author of three collections of poems, HAZARDS OF GRACE (Red Mountain Press, 2012), OCCOQUAN (Red Mountain Press, 2015 shortlisted for the International Rubery Award in Poetry), and THE BURNINGS (3:A Taos Press, 2019). His work has been published in various journals on both sides of the Atlantic and in anthologies, and has received two Pushcart Prize nominations. A falconer, Gary lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he is at work assembling a fourth manuscript of poems regarding mortality with the working title, CARRION-DARK LIGHT.

 

Zoom link for the April 11 reading:

https://zoom.us/j/441517946

Meeting ID: 441 517 946

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On Saturday, April 18, at 4p.m. Branwyn Holroyd,  Aaron Abeyta, and Patty Seyburn will read poetry via Zoom.

Canadian poet, Branwyn Holroyd, is a graduate of the Red Earth MFA at Oklahoma City University. In 2017-2018 she lived in Taos where she worked as the administrative assistant and Young Writers Curator at SOMOS. She is published in several journals including Cirque, San Pedro River Review, Room Magazine and Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art. For the time being, she works as a barista and lives in the attic of a yellow house in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Aaron A. Abeyta is a Colorado native, MFA Poetry Director at Western Colorado University, Professor of English and the Mayor of Antonito, Colorado, his hometown. He is the author of four collections of poetry and one novel. For his book, colcha, Abeyta received an American Book Award and the Colorado Book Award. In addition, his novel, Rise, Do Not be Afraid, was a finalist for the 2007 Colorado Book Award and El Premio Aztlan. Abeyta was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry, and he is the former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, as named by the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. Abeyta is also a recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership Award for 2017. Abeyta was a finalist for Colorado Poet Laureate, 2019.

Patty Seyburn has published five collections of poems: Threshold Delivery (Finishing Line Press, 2019), Perfecta (What Books Press, Glass Table Collective, 2014); Hilarity, (New Issues Press, 2009), Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). She earned a BS and an MS in Journalism from Northwestern University, an MFA in Poetry from University of California, Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and Literature from the University of Houston. She is a professor at California State University, Long Beach.

 

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On Sunday, April 26, at 5:30p.m. Lise Goett, Roberto Tejada, and special guests will read poetry via Zoom.

Lise Goett’s second book, Leprosarium (Tupelo Press, 2018), was a selection in the July 2015 Open Reading Period of Tupelo Press and the 2012 winner of the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award in Poetry from the Poetry Society of America. Her other awards include The Paris Review Discovery Award, The Pen Southwest Book Award in Poetry, the Capricorn Prize, the James D. Phelan Award, and The Barnard New Women Poets Prize for her first poetry collection, Waiting for the Paraclete , as well as fellowships from The Milton Center and the Creative Writing Institute at the University of Wisconsin.

Roberto Tejada is the author of poetry collections that include Full Foreground (Arizona, 2012), Exposition Park (Wesleyan, 2010), Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), selected poems in Spanish translation, Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015), and a Latinx poetics of the Americas, Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness (Noemi, 2019). He founded and co-edited the journal Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, a multilingual annual of poetry and translation (1991-2014). He is also the author of art histories that include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009), Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009), and Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon (Yale, 2020) He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing and Art History at the University of Houston. http://robertotejada.com

 

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Meeting ID: 356 271 312

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Poetry & Art in Public Places

“Poetry & Art in Public Places” is a collaboration of SOMOS and the Taos Arts Council. Originally intended to be displayed in coffee shops, Town facilities and galleries, the project will now exist online on the SOMOS website starting April 1.

Click Here to go to the Main Ekphrasis page and online galleries

“Poetry & Art in Public Places” is an ekphrastic project with Taos artists and Taos poets. The project asked poets and artists to respond to one another’s work. Eleven artists read a poem by a Taos poet and created a new piece of art in response to their poem. Eleven poets looked at a piece of art from a Taos artist and wrote a poem in response to their artwork; many of these artists were selected for the Taos Lamppost Banner Art project, a project of Taos Arts Council and the Town of Taos.  

Taos artists responded to a poem written by Taos poets:

  • Maye Torres (107-B) – “Steel Song” by Phyllis Hotch 
  • Lysa Montwill (Dragonfly Blue) – “Untitled” by Joshua K. Concha
  • Greg Moon (Greg Moon Art) – “Immigration Laws” by John Biscello
  • Michael Gorman (Michael Gorman Gallery) “In Case of Loss, This Girl” by Lise Goett
  • Rick Romancito – “And What” by Jomo Chiteji 
  • Rob Nightingale (Wilder Nightingale) – “Untitled” by Andrea Watson
  • Peggy Griffey (Untitled Fine Art) – “There is a place, an island made of island, in a    sea made of sea, where I have been”by Veronica Golos
  • Michael Archuleta (Michael McCormick Gallery) –“Roadrunner: The Chosen Prophet – An Excerpt” by Olivia Romo
  • J. Matthew Thomas – “Time” by Grace Yong
  • Georgia Gersh (Magpie) – “Waltraud’s Horse” by Ariana Kramer
  • Bill Baker (Michael McCormick Gallery) – “Revolution” by Michael McCormick

 Taos poets responded to a piece of art by Taos artists:

  • Judith Rane –”Gold Hill” Oil on Canvas by Linda Hoag
  • Isobel O’Hare –”Whale Watcher” by Marc Martinez 
  • Alan Macrae – “Mesa Sunset” by Rick Haltermann
  • Linda Fair – “Coyote Eyes” Photograph by Geraint Smith
  • Benjamin Teitelbaum – “Black and Blue Bird” Metal Sculpture by Scott Randolph
  • Margery Reading – “Lifeblood” Photo Encaustic by Nina Anthony
  • Rebecca Borrego – I’ll Fly Away” Oil Paint and Gold Leaf on Canvas by Mel Scully 
  • Julia Daye – “Sunny Sunday” Oil on Canvas by Krysteen Waszak 
  • Sara Jean Gray – “Latilla – Summer Sunset Yellow” (Cropped) Acrylics on Canvas by Stephen Jatho 
  • Carol Terry – “Milky Way Adobe” Watercolor on Paper by Christie Bundy 
  • Olivia Romo – “La Madre Tierra” Acrylic on Wood and Masonite by Anita Rodriguez 

 

History of Poetry Month

 

The inaugural poetry celebration to coincide with National Poetry Month was held in 2013, when SOMOS hosted local and out-of-town poets for a weeklong program of poetry readings that culminated in a reading/performance by Hakim Bellamy at the Living Light Gallery.

In April 2014, SOMOS hosted “37 Poets, 12 Evenings in Taos,” for the first twelve days in April. Curated by poet Veronica Golos, the event featured three poets each evening, to standing-room-only crowds. Held in the unique and intimate SOMOS Salon, the event attracted readers from Taos and Santa Fe and featured Native readers and singers, mother-and-daughter teams, some Shakespearean sonnets, and a thirteen-year-old reciting haikus. Notable poets included Pat McCabe, Mirabai Starr, Jon Davis, and Carol Moldaw.

In 2015, 3: A Taos Press and the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art celebrated Poetry Month with a panel discussion, “From Poem to Manuscript to Press,” featuring four poets: Catherine Strisik, Andrea Watson, Veronica Golos, and Will Barnes. Andrea Watson publishes poetry manuscripts through 3: A Taos Press; the other three poets have recently or will soon be published by 3. The panel explored the journey from writing poems to producing a manuscript and publishing a poetry collection.

In 2016, events were organized to take place each weekend in April, from Fridays through Sundays. Composed of three readers and a musician each evening, and curated by poet Veronica Golos, featured poets included Harvey Hix from Wyoming, Valerie Martinez from Albuquerque, and many local poets from Taos and Santa Fe.

In April 2017, the full lineup included twenty-six poets and nine musicians in eleven evenings, also curated by Veronica Golos. Well-known poets who read their work included Max Early (Laguna Pueblo), James Thomas Stevens (Santa Fe, IAIA), Dana Levin (Santa Fe), Juan Morales (from Pueblo, Colorado), and nationally regarded poet Cyrus Cassells (from Marcos, Texas). On April 1, 2017, the Town of Taos proclaimed April as National Poetry Month in Taos in honor of SOMOS.

In 2018, National Poetry Month events emphasized collaboration and community participation. It was also the first Poetry Month with a sitting Taos Poet Laureate. In total, SOMOS 2018 Poetry Month included sixty poets, twenty musicians, nine actors, twenty-two local businesses/organizations, and numerous schoolchildren. The month started with Poetry in Public Places, a collaboration between SOMOS, the Taos Arts Council, the Town of Taos, and local businesses. The installation project invited more than 25 Taos poets to provide a poem to be placed in Taos coffee shops, restaurants, the Town Hall, and other locations and included displays of poems by TISA students (Taos Integrated School of Arts) at Taos Public Library and Taos Youth & Family Center.

Nine Taos actors presented the work of nine Taos poets for “MIX & MATCH: Fools for Poetry” (April 1) at the Taos Art Museum. Poets were in attendance as special guests in the audience.

A storytelling collaboration between SOMOS and the Paseo Project culminated in the “Water Is Community” storytelling installation and reading (April 6) at the TCA’s Encore Gallery, featuring Taos Poet Laureate Sawnie Morris, Slam Poetry Champion and Acequia Protector Olivia Romo, and Poet, Farmer and Acequia Advocate Miguel Santistevan reading their poetry amid an installation of posters with written stories, collected from Taos community members, about water.

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tyehimba Jess and the John Rangel Trio joined forces for a night of incredible poetry and jazz at the Harwood Museum of Art (April 20). This was a collaboration between SOMOS and the Taos Jazz Bebop Society. It was a very special night, and Jess gave an engaging talk at SOMOS the next day.

Also at the Harwood, “Transformed by Fire,” a poetic-musical piece written by Philadelphia composer Andrea Clearfield and Taos poet Ariana Kramer, was presented by baritone Mark Jackson, pianist Martha Shepp, members of the Taos Community Chorus, and Ariana Kramer.

Plans for 2019 include a Poetry & Art Walk in five local art galleries; a two-day reading by more than twenty readers of a new translation of The Odyssey (translated by Emily Wilson); a display of ekphrastic poems with accompanying art at local coffee shops and galleries; and eleven nights of poetry readings with renowned poets such as Jamaal May (accompanied by the John Rangel Trio), Lise Goett, Veronica Golos, Sawnie Morris, and Ebony Isis Booth. SOMOS is collaborating with six local organizations for venues and co-sponsorship: KCEI, Taos Jazz Bebop Society, the TCA, the Harwood Museum/UNM, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, and the Taos Arts Council.

Hands writing on a piece of paper atop an outdoor desk. Poetry month at SOMOS.
Hands writing on a piece of paper atop an outdoor desk. Poetry month at SOMOS.

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 

Flyers at SOMOS detailing upcoming events