River Trip Poetry Group Day Change

"Use your words!" River Trip Poetry GroupThe River Trip Poetry Group meetings have moved from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Friday of each month, at 1:00pm, at the Tranquilbuzz Coffee House. The TranquilBuzz Coffee House is located at 112 W. Yankie Street in downtown Silver City. This ongoing experiential poetry group is open to all who enjoy a supportive and engaging environment in which to make connections, hone skills and share their literary art. The focus of these sessions is on both writing and reading. Writing exercises are offered by rotating facilitators selected within the group. All poetry forms are welcome. Organizers of this group are Elise Stuart and Stewart S. Warren. Sponsored by the River Chapter of New Mexico State Poetry Society.

Poetry at Glenwood Community Library

Silver City Poets Laureate Jack Crocker and Beate Sigriddaughter will read at
the Glenwood Community Library on February 10, 2018, followed by open mic. The event starts at 2:00 pm. The Glenwood library is located at 14 Menges Lane in Glenwood, NM.

Jack Crocker, when not writing poetry, is provost at WMNU. His poetry collection The Last Resort was published by Texas Review Press in 2009.

Beate Sigriddaughter’s first collection of poetry, A Well-Behaved Skeptic, was published by Celadon Press in 1978 under former name Beate Goldman. Her next collection, Xanthippe and Her Friends, is coming out from FutureCycle Press in February 2018.


Two samples from their work:


In the last 76 miles

Jessi has asked 3 times

Are we there yet.

It’s a profound question.


© Jack Crocker


They say the purpose of your life is revealed

in what brings you joy.

Evidently the purpose of my life is feeding finches.


© Beate Sigriddaughter

Glenwood Community Library welcomes Silver City Poets Laureate Jack Crocker and Beate Sigriddaughter reading from their work, followed by open mic.

Lydia Huerta at Words and Music

Lydia Huerta MorenoThe January 20, 2018 Words and Music event at the Tranquilbuzz Coffeehouse will feature Lydia Huerta reading her own poetry and favorite poems by others in both English and Spanish. Open mic will follow her performance–that means your poems, stories, and songs! The event starts at 2:00 p.m.
Lydia Huerta received her Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Spanish in both the Department of Social Sciences and the Humanities at WNMU where she teaches courses on Latin American and Latino Literature, Film, Media and Culture, Women and Gender Studies and Spanish.

She also serves as Co-Director for The Center for Gender Equity, where she focuses on collaborating with students and other faculty to provide transformative programming and advocacy on issues of gender equity and feminism. Her areas of interest include interdisciplinary approaches to gender, ethics, border studies, violence in the US-Mexico border region, Mexico and Brazil.

Looking into you 
Your sky is full of
hidden constellations
that gleam
when the wind 
pushes away your clouds
Looking into you is..
Loving you is…
Fear. Of you. 
Ver dentro de ti
Eres un cielo de
constelaciones ocultas
que se deslumbran 
cuando el viento 
mueve tus nubes
Ver dentro de ti es..
Amarte es..
Miedo. De ti.

Call for Submissions: Gila Symposium

Confluence of Bonita Creek and Gila River in Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, in Graham County, Arizona; seen from the vicinity of the Kearny campsite monument. The Gila flows toward the camera, center and left of center; Bonita Creek flows left to right, through the canyon whose far wall is visible behind trees at the right edge of the photo.

The 7th Natural History of the Gila Symposium (February 22-23, 2018) is looking for creative
works about the Gila. Poets and prose writers of all kinds are welcome to submit their work for consideration. Readers will read their work in a creative voices session during the symposium, and works will be included in the proceedings of the conference. Information about the symposium can be found here: http://gilasymposium.org

Creative writers should submit works for consideration along with a short bio to heather.steinmann@wnmu.edu by 1/8/18.

Saturday Words and Music Features ALCS Poets

On the third Saturday of each month, Tranquilbuzz Coffee House, in collaboration with poet laureate Beate Sigriddaughter, hosts a Words and Music event. Aldo Leopold Charter School poets Grace Walton, Serina Floyd, Ashley Elliot, Samuel Medina, and Catalina Claussen will read from their work tomorrow, December 16, 2017. The reading will begin at 2:00pm and will be followed by an open mic for words and music. Tranquilbuzz Coffee is located at 112 W. Yankie Street on the corner of Texas and Yankie Streets in downtown Silver City.

Catalina Claussen

Francesca West at the TranquilBuzz Saturday

Everyone is invited to Words and Music on Saturday, November 18, 2:00-4:00pm at the TranquilBuzz Coffee House, 112 W. Yankie Street (corner of Texas and Yankie Streets) in Silver City. The featured poet will be Francesca West. Her reading will be followed by an open mic for words and music. The TranquilBuzz, in collaboration with poet laureate Beate Sigriddaughter, hosts Words and Music on the third Saturday of each month.

Francesca West

Award Given to JJ Amaworo Wilson’s Damnificados

JJ Amaworo Wilson’s debut novel Damnificados has won the 2017 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. The award “honors the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe.” Wilson visited Washington, D.C. in late October to accept the award, where he met Congressman John Lewis. Damnificados has also won the New Mexico-Arizona Fiction Award and the Independent Publishers Fiction Award.

Read more about the Hurston/Wright award and Wilson’s reflections on the experience here: http://wnmu.edu/damnificados-hurston-wright-legacy-award/

JJ Wilson accepts the Hurston/Wright award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Photo courtesy of Kea Taylor Imagine Photography.

Book Review: My Mother and I, We Talk Cat

Elise StuartJJ Amaworo Wilson recently reviewed My Mother and I, We Talk Cat by Elise Stuart, the previous poet laureate of Silver City and Grant County.

Elise Stuart’s terrific new memoir is unorthodox. As a former Poet Laureate of Silver City and Grant County, she includes poems at scattered intervals, which illustrate the events and emotions of her youth. Her tale, while sequential, glosses over some years and characters and lingers on others. For example, we barely get to know the men in her life, including the father of her children. However, there is one character who stands out like a fox in a chicken coop: the author’s mother, warts-and-all.

The apparent selfishness of the older lady sometimes beggars belief: she takes off when Stuart is ten – and returns without explanation; she expects her daughter to buy the plane ticket for her imminent move; and she leaves boxes of papers and crockery at Stuart’s house demanding that Stuart pays for their shipment. The mother comes across as a sociopath, a diva in furs who would rather be feeding her ego than her children.

And yet there is redemption for this troubled soul. By the end–of the book and of her mother’s life–Stuart has somehow managed to forgive the sins of the parent and see through the appalling behavior to reach a state of acceptance. She loves her mother “as she is” – a quite remarkable feat of generosity. It’s only at this late stage of the book that we learn about the mother’s undiagnosed mental issues. In today’s parlance, she was bi-polar. She also underwent shock therapy, a now widely discredited treatment, after which she was “never the same.”

One thing I loved about the book is the milieu: the hippie era. Communes, free love, road trips, a little psychedelia – these are nicely captured in details and anecdotes: Stuart laboriously bakes bread for the commune and watches it get gobbled up instantly. On her return from a trip to Canada, her car is torn apart by customs officials who don’t trust long-haired hippie types.

The main story–the neglectful mother and her sensitive-soul child who grows up to be an artist–is familiar yet still compelling. What makes it memorable here is the narrator’s vulnerability. We see the little girl struggling to break free of her cocoon and then, somehow, miraculously, while the world is looking the other way, she emerges like a butterfly. It’s a tale, beautifully told, of grace and forgiveness.

JJ Amaworo Wilson

Words and Music October 21

You are invited to the next Words and Music event at the Tranquilbuzz Coffee House on Saturday, October 21, 2:00 p.m.

Featured authors on October 21, 2017 are Bonnie Buckley Maldonado and Heather Steinmann. Poet Bonnie Buckley Maldonado was Silver City’s first ever poet laureate and is a life-long educator. Heather Steinmann is a poet and short story writer and professor of English at WNMU. Open mic for words and music follows their presentation. 

Bonnie Buckley Maldonado     Heather Steinmann

Thank you

The Festival steering committee wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the 2017 Southwest Festival of the Written Word possible. Thank you to the speakers for your time, effort, and incredible insights!

Thank you to our major sponsors the New Mexico Humanities Council, Western New Mexico University, the McCune Charitable Foundation, New Mexico Arts and Cultural Districts (Silver City Arts and Cultural District), Town of Silver City (Lodger’s Tax), James Edd Hughs of Edward Jones, the Grant County Community Foundation, the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning, the Town and Country Garden Club, the Silver City Daily Press, Silver City Radio, and the Friends of the Silver City Public Library.

Thank you to all of the businesses, organizations, and individuals who sponsored Festival sessions, donated, and purchased advertising space in the Festival program.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, who make the event run smoothly.

We are fortunate to be part of such a supportive, creative, and enthusiastic community.

Panelists interact with the audience on Saturday, September 30, 2017.

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