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.

Click here to view a Zoom reading with all four New Mexico Poets Laureate that took place on 10/25/2020



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.

April 1, 2020: Taos Poet Laureate Catherine Strisik and Santa Fe poet Will Barnes read from their work, accompanied by drumming from Benito Concha.


Catherine Strisik, Taos Poet Laureate 2020-2022, is author of three poetry collections: Insectum Gravitis; The 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. www.cathystrisik.com 

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.

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, Benito percussively incorporates grounded Taos Pueblo music instruments during a ‘Gourd Sound Healing’ treatment at Medicine Mountain Massage, owned and operated by Benito.


April 11, 2020: Veronica Golos and Gary Worth Moody read poetry.

 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.


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.


On Sunday, April 26, at 5:30p.m. Lise Goett, Roberto Tejada, Carolyn Forche, and Mark Wunderlich 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

Carolyn Forché is a poet, memoirist, translator, and editor. Her books of poetry include: In the Lateness of the World (Penguin, 2020); The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (HarperCollins, 1982), which received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets; and Gathering the Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), which was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Stanley Kunitz. Her memoir What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House, 2019) was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Nonfiction. She is also the coeditor of Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500-2001 (W. W. Norton, 2014) and editor of Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness(W. W. Norton, 1993). Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992, she received the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a professor at Georgetown University and lives in Maryland.

Mark Wunderlich is the author of The Anchorage, which was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 1999, and received the Lambda Literary Award, Voluntary Servitude, published in 2004 by Graywolf Press, and The Earth Avails published by Graywolf in 2014 which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, and received the 2015 Rilke Prize. He has received fellowships from the NEA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Amy Lowell Trust and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. His poems, interviews, reviews and translations have appeared in journals such as Slate, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, Yale Review, Fence and Tin House, and his poems are widely anthologized. Wunderlich has taught at Stanford and Barnard College and in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University, Ohio University, San Francisco State University and Sarah Lawrence. As an arts administrator, he has worked at the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, Poets & Writers and the Napa Valley Writers Conference. He holds a BA in German Literature and English from the University of Wisconsin, and an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. Wunderlich lives in the Hudson River Valley and has taught at Bennington since 2004. He became the director of the Bennington Writing Seminars in August 2017.

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Singing from Our Balconies: On Sunday, May 3, at 5p.m. Branwyn Holroyd, Richard C. Owens, Mickie Kennedy, Tina Carlson, Sophie Cohen, and Lise Goett will read poetry via Zoom.

Join SOMOS and poets from across North America as they read recent works that speak to the ethos of our time. These poets recently participated in a write-a-poem-a-day marathon led by Lise Goett. Their “marathon” enfolded the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic. In the spirit of the day, they offer their poetry written in and of these times. Poets are Branwyn Holroyd, Richard C. Owens, Mickie Kennedy, Tina Carlson, Sophie Cohen, and Lise Goett. This reading will take place on Zoom. You will need a computer with online access or a telephone. More instructions below for how to join the videoconference.  

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.

Richard C. Owens is a writer, photographer, adjunct professor of law, lawyer, health care activist and think-tank fellow living in Toronto, Canada.   A lifelong poet, he has studied under many distinguished poets, including the faculty of the Tupelo Press Conference in Truchas: Jeffrey Levine, Ilya Kaminsky, Lise Goett, and Veronica Golos among them, as well as Ken Babstock and Paul Vermeersch. www.richardcowens.comwww.rcophoto.com

Mickie Kennedy is an American poet who resides in Baltimore County, Maryland with his wife, husband, son, daughter, and two feuding cats. He enjoys British science fiction and the idea of long hikes in nature. His work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Artword Magazine, Conduit, Portland Review, Rockhurst Review, and Wisconsin Review. He earned an MFA from George Mason University.

Tina Carlson is a Santa Fe poet. Her most recent book, We Are Meant to Carry Water (3: A Taos Press) is a book of poetic epistles in the voices of various archetypal personna, written in collaboration with poets Katherine DiBella Seluja and Stella Reed, in response to the 2016 US presidential election. Her first poetry book, Ground, Wind, This Body (UNM, 2017) explores the impact of war on a family when the veteran does not receive adequate help for the trauma war creates.

Sophie Cohen is a junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies Mathematics and Creative Writing. Her poetry has appeared in the Zingara Poetry Review, Prometheus Unbound and Prometheus Dreaming, Storm of Blue Press, and Chronogram Magazine, and will appear later this year in the 30N print anthology. In addition to topology, poetry, Star Wars, and the empty set, Sophie loves running. Her favorite poet is James Wright. 

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 ReviewDiscovery 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. 

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May 3, 2020 5:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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A selection of work from the poets:


Day After America                                                                      Tina Carlson




Unearthed rot. The ride a sheathed childhood.  Un-sheathed, he slicks his thumb along the narrow tracks of my mouth, even though winter is diesel-fumed. A train hurtles where we have never met. Have only met his scent: sour, of snow. Soured, I spend my time sick up the slope. Trees silent.



Ruin. I sit groaning at 5am.)  I am a dress of my own skin. Mother enters my dream through automatic doors, waves, wave goodbye to birds in my head. Under the mask, I am still piano, fingering bone keys. Bony, I am made of flowers under your feet. Fence after wind. I want shade under fractured branches, the birds breathing, birds breathing. Soon, we will all be America (reading Lucie Brock Broido masked. Brock Broido masked. Underfoot: teeth, tiny blue truck, stoic as stone. Breathing in holy nests I hang onto the. Hang on the.



Biosphere                                                                Lise Goett


Smog blights our vista to the south,

brings us twilight early.


Welcome to our man-made weather and myopia,

our faith in new construction, the recycled air


of this sarcophagus. This is the Biosphere.

I am its queen, the royal human jelly of this human hive,


Witness our cryogenic faith in frozen sperm and ovum,

we the star-seeds of our planet’s future—I, your guide.


Look up. No need to touch. Our screens

will recognize you. Here in our Valhalla,


there’s neither virus nor need to resist,

this the succor of our mirrored dome,


our utopia: happy, healthy human specimens,

anchorites sealed inside a wall


broadcast to you from this anchorage.

We exist! Once, we here roamed the land



like winged Valkyries, the earth wrapped in fog

thick as the shroud of Turin, a trembling gauze


pulled down over the masks of the sleeping.

We saw signs, we killers of mollusk and whale,


the Cryptic Treehunter, and Cunning Silverslide,

neither cryptic nor cunning. Not a good year


for Miss Waldron’s red colobus or rhinoceros

of various hues, victims of greed—


these the precursors of our own extinction.

Death reveals the true colors


of things: flame red, alizarin crimson,

the earth made evangelical,


parched russets unleashing their lockets of October.

The gods are dead, the rivers fished dry.


everything suddenly turned spiritual.

Like cockles in hellfire, we open.





Quarantine                                                  Richard C. Owens


I’m in confinement. 

The room silts up with time.  

It’s me and my muse in here,

and she’s begun to stink a bit. 

I fear she might be dead.

I cast a wary eye across the room;

she turns a cold shoulder. 


She may be infectious,

but she keeps her distance.

There’s pestilence abroad. 

Busy people far and wide

load munificence upon the idled,

but I’m as carved out from public weal

as isolated from my muse’s affections.


I can’t go in.  I can’t go out. 

To stay is to be nowhere,

but nowhere’s just the place for now. 

I could brave the bite of March winds

on the Juliet balcony;

cast an eye over the railing

to sound again the depths.


But it’s no further than before. 

I’d just break things 

in collision with garden furnishings. 

It’s not the back deck of the Orizaba.

While my muse rejects my advances,

she hasn’t beaten me up for the insult,

like the sailor did poor Crane. 


At least, not yet.




Quarantine Day 6                                                            Mickie Kennedy


At the dinner party of my life,

the only invited guests are food:

a pickled plum of a spring salad with walnuts

and a homemade dressing of honey and hints

of chipotle, a spritz of lemon in a glass

of water, a rack of lamb cooling

next to a small bowl of mint jelly.

There are mashed potatoes and rumors

of a late-comer, vanilla crème brûlée

cooling in the fridge, having just kissed

a torch and survived.


I talk to the Roquefort dressing about

local politics, how the mayor has her work

cut out for her because of the developer

who has dropped his hardhat into the ring,

how city hall wants to replace a traffic light

near a shopping center with a roundabout.

The corn, which I had not seen behind

the rolls, mentions how Trump calls

them Chinese circles and what’s wrong

with stop and go. It’s worked

for thousands of years.



The scraps of lettuce mumble

and I decide to change the subject

to how well the quarantine appears

to be working, how I feared isolation

would trigger my issues, but so far

it and the medication are working.

Liar, a voice calls from the table,

which turns out to be the spoon. You are not

well. You have barely touched your plate.


I look at my plate and begin to cry,

some things a man rearranges in his mind

until they’re either a bouquet of roses

or a ton of bricks, and that

has made all this hard to swallow,

a cold cup of ramen noodles and

an expired bottle of beer from

the back of the fridge.



Today, Butch called to say goodbye.              Branwyn Holroyd


Butch called from Tucson to say, we might never speak again,

he says, there are no more masks,

At a San Francisco hospital, doctors are deciding who lives.


I am trying to prepare for the uncertain future.

The stores full of people, the shelves almost empty.

I have dental floss, toothpaste, olive oil, toilet paper, everything I need

for granola.

My fridge crammed with vegetables, the cupboards burst with dry goods.

I want to witness this moment.

I want to remember the sun, notice the blossoms.

I want to live.

I want to be generous.

I want Butch to believe he will live.

I want him not to be afraid.

I want to go running with Butch on the Ski Valley trails.

I want us to look at the stars, eat kimchi and rippled potato chips.

I want us to drink Four Pillars Gin. I want to almost kiss.

I want my friend back.

I want him to feel safe.

I want to live in the same place as the people I love.

I want to be brave and love everyone in the line-up who wants

the last carton of eggs.

I want to feel everything.

In the line-up I talk to a stranger and tell her I am afraid.

My heart hammers inside all the dark spaces of my body.

The woman says I should, stay positive.

She says that positive thoughts are good for my immune system.

I want to believe her when she says everything will be ok, and I don’t want

to believe Butch when he says there’s a good chance he’ll die.

Butch used to say we would go to Crested Butte to see the alpine flowers.

And if we were lucky, we might see wild ponies.

I still want to see them.

I believe a lot of what Butch says.

I want to believe the woman when she says, it will be alright.

My immune system wants to believe her, too.

I like Butch a lot more than the line-up woman, but she is here and together we breathe the same air.

I want to be a witness to this moment.

I want to witness my fear.

I want my heart to stop pounding, I want

to stop remembering the time my heart almost


Breathing, I want to keep breathing.

I want to turn the heat down.

I want to close the distance between us.

I want to touch someone.

I want to stand on a balcony in Barcelona and sing.

I want to remember

to sing.



And For The Last Time        Sophia L. Cohen


I saw you because it was the end,

and even though I never planned to see you again

I wondered, what if I never see you again? 


It was good to be with your body,

your big smooth body, and to feel the cold

of your silver chain. It didn’t matter, then.

Nothing that happened before

and nothing that would happen after

mattered. It was the end. 


I opened the window in my room

to let in the breeze and it reminded me

of my bedroom at home.

I didn’t close it before I left.

It should be left open like that, at the end.


And it was cold, cold on my bare shoulders

as I packed my life into a box in the middle of March. 

I went to the river. I went so I could say goodbye,

and to see the bridge. I walked on the bridge

and everything always seems so much smaller

from the bridge, everything felt so small and tiny.


Then it started to rain, and the sky changed color

all over my head in a single moment. 




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  12pm-4pm  575.758.0081  108 Civic Plaza Drive

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


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  • LANL (Los Alamos National Labs)  • New Mexico Humanities Council

Flyers at SOMOS detailing upcoming events