TAOS, N.M. — 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 has been reconfigured to take place entirely online, starting with an April 1 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.

“We invite the Taos community to join us this month and be uplifted by exquisite poetry, heartfelt music and beautiful art,” said Kramer. “In these extraordinary times, this is an opportunity to come together, while staying apart, to celebrate our collective creative spirit.”

On Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. Catherine Strisik and Benito Concha will broadcast poetry and music from Strisik’s home, and Will Barnes will read his poetry from Santa Fe. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to watch via Zoom videoconferencing for free, but you will need to pre-register for the event to receive instructions on how to attend. Please email somos@somostaos.orgby Tuesday, March 31 to pre-register.

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.

“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, somostaos.org starting April 1.

The project asked Taos 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 the poem. Eleven poets looked at a piece of visual art from a Taos artist and wrote a poem in response to the 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.


These Taos artists responded to a poem written by these 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) – “Comfort In a Well Lit Room” by Michael McCormick

These Taos poets responded to a piece of art by these 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

SOMOS will continue to offer many literary services to the community during this national emergency.