Silver City Quarterly Review Anniversary Celebration

scquarterlyreviewlogoOctober 2016 marks one year in the life of the Silver City Quarterly Review, and the Review would like to invite contributors, readers, and interested community members to share in the creativity of their community.

Silver City Quarterly Review – Gallery Reception
Friday, October 14, 2016, 3:00pm
WNMU McCray Gallery

Visual artists will display printed versions of their work featured in the Silver City Quarterly Review and exciting new pieces. Also on display will be printed versions of some of your favorite Quarterly Review poems and short stories displayed in unique and creative ways. Visual art including printed poems will be on display from Saturday October 15th to 21st.

Silver City Quarterly Review One-Year Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, October 15, 2016, 4:00-6:00pm
WNMU McCray Gallery

Authors will read poetry or excerpts from longer works. Published authors will be available for book signings and sales. The gallery works (described above) will be available for all to enjoy.

David Chorlton Poetry Reading

davidchorltonPoetry reading by Phoenix poet David Chorlton
Friday, October 14, 2016, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Yankie Creek Coffee House, Silver City

Born in Austria, David Chorlton grew up in Manchester, close to rain and the northern English industrial zone. In his early 20s he went to live in Vienna and stayed for seven years before moving to Phoenix with his wife in 1978. In Arizona he has grown ever more fascinated by the desert and its wildlife. Much of his poetry has come to reflect his growing concern for the natural world. In 2008, he won the Ronald Wardall Award from Rain Mountain Press for his chapbook The Lost River, and in 2009 the Slipstream Chapbook Competition for From the Age of Miracles. Other poetry collections include A Normal Day Amazes Us (Kings Estate Press), The Porous Desert (FutureCycle Press) and Waiting for the Quetzal (March Street Press). The Devil’s Sonata (FutureCycle Press) appeared in 2012, and in 2014 the same press published David Chorlton: Selected Poems. His A Field Guide to Fire was part of the Fires of Change exhibition, a collaboration of artists and scientists addressing the role of fire in forest management in the age of climate change.

His poems have appeared in many literary and small press magazines. He is represented in Fever Dreams (an anthology of Arizona poets from U. of Arizona Press), New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press), and has a poem in BIRDS, an anthology from the British Museum. A copy of his poem, The Deep Frozen Desert, was interred with some seeds from the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Arizona at the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway.


Writing in the Desert

Once you have entered the desert

a lock behind you clicks. A new vocabulary

floods your tongue and leaves you struggling

to pronounce the words. After the first year

you learn that silence is the official language

here. The longer you stay

the shorter the book you came to write becomes

until the manuscript fits on the wings

of a moth. Each dusk, a lifetime’s work

draws closer to the flame.                                              (from The Porous Desert)

Seven Great Banned Books

Originally posted by JJ Wilson on September 23, 2016.

In celebration of Banned Books Week – Sept 25-Oct 1 – here’s some great literature that governments banned at one time or another. Rather than the usual suspects — Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lolita, the Harry Potter series (witchcraft!), and pretty much everything Orwell and Solzhenitzyn wrote — I’ve gone for a few of the more surprisingly banned titles.  The list covers four continents, six nationalities, and all the vices you can think of.


1. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak

Pasternak couldn’t get his masterpiece published in the USSR because it critiqued Socialism. At the instigation of the legendary publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, the manuscript was smuggled to Milan, where it finally saw the light of day in 1957. The following year Pasternak won the Nobel Prize, but was forbidden by his government from accepting it. Within two years he was dead of lung cancer. In 1988, Pasternak’s family accepted the award on his behalf.


2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Carroll’s 1865 masterpiece has entranced and offended generations of readers in almost equal measure. At some point or other it’s been banned for promoting drug use (OK, the caterpillar sitting on a mushroom while puffing on a hookah pipe is fairly unambiguous); sexual content; and talking animals. It’s also one of the most quoted books of all time.


3. The Children of Gebelawi – Naguib Mahfouz

The Egyptian Nobel Laureate’s 1959 novel (sometimes known as Children of the Alley) about patriarchy, religion, and a family feud was banned all over the Arabic world. Critics said the hero, Gebelawi, was a blasphemous representation of God. The assassination attempt on Mahfouz by Islamic extremists in 1994 was a direct consequence of the book’s content, but Mahfouz still had the guts to speak out against the fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses.



4. An Area of Darkness – V.S. Naipaul

When Naipaul squints at the world and begins sharpening his pencil, nothing is sacred. In this 1964 travelogue about India, he calls his ancestral homeland “the world’s largest slum” and describes Indians as “a withered race of men.” India banned the book immediately.


5. A World of Strangers – Nadime Gordimer

South African novelist Gordimer claimed that “I am not a political person by nature. I don’t suppose, if I had lived elsewhere, my writing would have reflected politics much, if at all.” But in Apartheid and the terrible injustices brought about by systemic racism, she found her theme. This 1958 book was the first of three Gordimer novels to be banned in South Africa.



6. El Señor Presidente – Miguel Asturias

Technically speaking, this great novel wasn’t banned; its publication was delayed for thirteen years by the Guatemalan government before it was finally published in 1946. The book portrays a ruthless, corrupt dictator with an uncanny resemblance to Manuel Estrada Cabrera, Guatemala’s very own ruthless, corrupt dictator who ruled from 1898 to 1920.


7. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

In the U.S., the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act of 1873 prohibited the sending or receiving of “obscene” or “filthy” works through the U.S. mail. Chaucer, to the pleasure of several generations of British schoolboys, was on occasion extremely, delightfully, disgustingly filthy. And so his tales, 500 years after they were first published, were temporarily grounded in the U.S.

Recent Review of Damnificados

In his debut novel Damnificados, JJ Amaworo Wilson has created a unique yet familiar world. No doubt reflecting Wilson’s experiences living in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Lesotho, Colombia, England, Italy, and the United States, the story is set in a fascinatingly diverse, polyglot city surrounded by an equally multi-national countryside. As an analytical, often literal-minded reader, I spent some mental energy at first trying to determine where on Earth I was: South America felt right at first, but the place names seemed to come not only from Spanish and Portuguese but also French, Arabic, Mandarin, and Eastern European languages (Czech?). After a short while I allowed myself to relax and just enjoy my new, exciting surroundings.

Although aspects of the world of Damnificados may seem foreign and exotic; the vivid, precise, and insightful description transports the reader easily. I found myself thinking, “Oh yes, I’ve been there.”

Up to this point I have had mixed reactions to fiction incorporating magical realism. Often I have read such works and found the introduction of “magical” or supernatural elements to be jarring. In some cases, I have had difficulty seeing how a supernatural element enhanced the story. Damnificados changed this for me. The realistic and modern elements blend so naturally with the unexpected, magical elements that the whole story is seamless, believable, and engrossing. The storyline shifts organically from contemporary plotline to historical account, from slightly unusual characters or odd occurrences to unnatural occurrences. When something happens that defies the natural order of things, at first the reader may not even notice. Nothing is superfluous; every magical event in Damnificados has been added to the story for a reason.

Flawed and broken, resilient and authentic human beings underlie every part of the book. I saw the strengths, weaknesses, talents, and quirks of the communities to which I belong reflected in the damnificados’ community. I particularly loved the characters’ unique ingenuity, especially characters that society would normally consider weak. One of my favorite sections of the book describes the variety of incredible skills developed by professional garbage-sorters before the Fourth Trash War, including a woman “who could fill a gunnysack of recyclable metal in ten minutes, or so the legend goes.” Character portraits and legends such as this add a strong dose of humor to Damnificados.

Damnificados intersperses heartwarming, authentic, and humorous episodes with suspense, misfortune, and tragedy. At times it seems as if there is no escape, but survivors emerge from disaster to rebuild and improve their community. Life and love persists. The story also presents less dramatic but universally recognizable anxieties and problems. I felt the characters’ pain and gained consolation from their hope.

By blending the realistic with the epic, Wilson has allowed readers to immerse themselves in a world that is simultaneously familiar and new. The results are exciting to experience.

-Lillian Galloway, Festival steering committee member and public library liaison

Festival Steering Committee Announces 2016 Prologue Weekend Events

web banner 2016 e

The Southwest Festival of the Written Word (SWFWW) presents its even-numbered year event, the 2016 Prologue Weekend, on September 29-October 1.  All sessions are open to the public free of charge and take place in Silver City, NM.  Two sessions have limited capacity and require attendees to reserve their space in advance.


On Thursday, September 29, local writers Beate Sigriddaughter, Stewart Warren, and Chris Lemme will share strategies and answer questions about self-publishing and offer insight into other means by which a writer’s work can be placed in the public’s reading spaces and on the public’s reading radar. The workshop will be held at the Silver City Library, 515 W. College Avenue at 4:00pm.  Writers of all ages are welcome.

Sigriddaughter is a published poet and fiction author  ( ). Warren, who recently moved to Silver City from Albuquerque, is a published author of poetry and fiction, and is the owner of the Mercury Heartlink Publishing ( ) which moved with him to Silver. Chris Lemme is the editor of the on-line Silver City Quarterly Review, the literary review magazine published four times a year (Jan, Apr, July, Oct) that spotlights local authors in Silver City and southwestern New Mexico. ( ) Contact the library at 575-538-3672 or  for more information about the event.

Beate Sigriddaughter

Beate Sigriddaughter

Stewart Warren

Stewart Warren

Chris Lemme

Chris Lemme







Jim Smith

Jim Smith

In 2013, Jim Smith’s novel about Billy the Kid, Catherine’s Son, The Story of a Boy who Became an Outlaw, was named a finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award as best historical fiction. On Friday, September 30, from 4:00-5:00pm, at the Miller Library on the WNMU campus, Smith will entertain and enlighten his audience on the topic of Billy the Kid’s time in Silver City.  Jim is the author of an American history textbook titled Ideas That Shape A Nation, a book that has been endorsed by teachers and scholars throughout the nation, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians (David Kennedy and Jack Rakove).  He is also the author of Skipper Hall: The Life and Religious Philosophy of a Methodist Minister in New Mexico. ( ) and has published articles and book reviews in Healthy U, The Journal of Southern History, Phi Delta Kappan, AP Central, and Historical Times.


If you are haunted by a great idea for a movie or a play, but not sure where to begin, or if you have already started one but are unsure of what your characters should do or say next, then you will want to attend Dr. Barb Ann Matson’s Scene Writing Workshop, Saturday, October 1, from 9:00am-Noon, at 808 W. 8th Street. The workshop is limited to 15; your space can be reserved by contacting  The heart of the workshop will address character development, consistency, complexity, motivation, conflict, actions, and dialog. Participants will watch an award-winning short screenplay (less than 10 minutes) followed by directed writing exercises. Dr. Matson is a WNMU Professor of English.


Bruce Wilson

Bruce Wilson

On Saturday, October 1, from 1:00-3:00pm, at 808 W. 8th Street, Silver City writer Bruce Wilson will lead a workshop entitled “The Marketing Plan”.  ( ).  Wilson’s first novel, Death in the Black Patch, is currently in production and will be published in September 2016 by Artemesia Publishing of Tijeras, NM. In this workshop, he will discuss how to develop and write a plan for publishing and marketing your book and how you can take control of your book’s future. Space is limited to 15; contact to reserve your spot.

The 2017 Southwest Festival of the Written Word will be held September 29-October 1, 2017.

Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, to speak at Western New Mexico University

herrera_si-303x335Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, to speak at WNMU, Silver City

Juan Felipe Herrera will give a talk about his life and work at Light Hall, WNMU on Monday November 21st. This event is free and open to the public; however, to reserve a seat you must pick up a free ticket from the WNMU Office of Cultural Affairs in Hunter Hall. If you do not pick up a free ticket, you may not be able to get a seat at the event. There will be a cocktail meet-and-greet at 5:30 p.m. on the patio, followed by the talk from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

This event is co-sponsored by the WNMU Office of Cultural Affairs, the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning, and the Southwest Festival of the Written Word. For more information, please contact JJ Amaworo Wilson: or 575-956-8758.

Ten Great Latin American Novels

It’s all here: magical realism, characters as big as gods, social (in)justice, love and death and the depredations of colonialism. Ten masterpieces from that gorgeous and perennially troubled continent. -JJ Wilson

1. Th53925e War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa

Llosa wrote several great novels – Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter is probably the best-known – but none better than this tale based on a revolutionary community in a backwater of 19th Century Brazil. Prostitutes, beggars and bandits build a town called Canudos – their Utopia – and find themselves besieged by government armies.


 th2. The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

Lispector’s final work is a luminous novella about a slum-dwelling typist from the northeast of Brazil, who dreams of being as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe. As always with Lispector, the stuff in the margins is what counts: whimsical observations about God and the universe and writing, aphorisms, and memories that flicker as briefly and brightly as shooting stars.


th3. The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes

From his deathbed, the tycoon Artemio Cruz recounts his breathtaking journey through modern Mexican history, from his heroic stand in the Mexican Revolution through to his relentless and ruthless climb up society’s ladder. As the narrative jumps around in time and perspective, the novel becomes an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic portrait of a man and a nation.


th4. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

A literary blockbuster that began life as a letter to Allende’s dying 100-year-old grandfather. This multi-generational saga, full of romance, desire, political upheaval, and a delightful dose of magical realism, is a love song to Latin America.



th5. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

Bolaño was a dyslexic poet-vagabond who died at fifty after traipsing around Chile, Mexico, France and Spain. He was also the heir of Borges and García Márquez in terms of richly imagined characters and labyrinthine tall tales. This, his first full-length novel, is a dazzling tragicomedy – a quest story that satirizes the writing life even as it memorializes it.


th6. The President by Miguel Ángel Asturias

This 1946 novel brilliantly exposes the corrosive effects of a Latin American dictatorship. Set in an unnamed country that strongly resembles Asturias’s Guatemala, The President uses bizarre dream sequences and black humor to satirize the oppressive, murderous regime. If a Hieronymous Bosch painting could be turned into a lyrical, haunting novel, this would be it.


th7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

The joyous masterpiece that broke open literature. Full of color, riotous humor, vivid characters, and the sheer richness of García Márquez’s setting – a town called Macondo – the novel is lauded for its astonishing inventiveness. But its author always insisted the so-called magical realism was just reality for Colombians.



th8. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado

A superb novel by a Brazilian master about a beautiful, innocent girl thrust into a society on the cusp of modernity. Perhaps Gabriela is Brazil itself. Like García Márquez with Colombia, Amado renders the northeast of his country so real, so tangible, so full of sound and smell and taste that you almost touch it as you read.



th9. Memory of Fire by Eduardo Galeano

How to describe Memory of Fire? This trilogy is a history book, extended prose poem and novel rolled into one. Perhaps it’s enough to say that it’s a masterpiece that captures the history of the Americas in all their gory glory. As a dissection of greed, racism, and conquest, it is unmatched – a Biblical epic bathed in blood.



th10. Three Trapped Tigers by Guillermo Cabrera Infante

A Cuban treat. A dazzling tour de force of puns, wordplay, lists, wild humor, and postmodern excess. Cabrera Infante borrows from Joyce, Sterne, Robbe-Grillet, Cortázar and numerous others, but the work has a life of its own, recalling 1950s Havana with its high jinks and jazz. This is one long, tall mojito of a novel.


*A version of this blog post appeared in Bookwitty in June 2016.

Radio Show Episodes Available Online

vintagemike-800pxA new literary radio show, “Use Your Words: Writers Speak,” is now airing on KURU 89.1 and streaming live at The show is sponsored by KURU, Gila Mimbres Community Radio, and the Southwest Festival of the Written Word. Its regular slot is the second and fourth Friday of every month, at 4:30 p.m. The first two episodes of “Use Your Words” are now available online:

The show includes interviews with Southwest writers, short readings from published work or works in progress, as well as news and views from the literary community. All genres of writing are represented: fiction, memoir, poetry, historical writing, etc. “Use Your Words: Writers Speak” is hosted by Elise Stuart, Richard Mahler, Glenn Henderson, and JJ Amaworo Wilson. Elise Stuart is the second Poet Laureate of Silver City and Grant County. Richard Mahler is an author and publisher who hosted radio programs for NPR for many years. Glenn Henderson is an avid bibliophile. JJ Amaworo Wilson is the writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University.


RIP Jim Kelly 1942-2016

jkellyWith sadness in our hearts, we announce the passing of Jim Kelly. Jim was one of the founding members of the Southwest Festival of the Written Word and the founder of the Poet Laureate program of Silver City and Grant County. He was an actor, a Navy veteran, and a gifted writer who had his own syndicated column for years.

Below are some tributes from members of the Southwest Festival of the Written Word:

“He always made me laugh and he had such great ideas about how to make projects fun and worth doing.  I will miss him so much.” (Jeannie A Miller)

“He was a remarkable human being and such a great addition to Silver City.” (Susan M. Berry)

“We’ve lost one of the greats.  A great friend. A great punster. A great worker. A great human being. We were so fortunate to have had Jim Kelly around.” (Tom Hester)

“I loved his humor and goodwill. He will be missed in so many ways.” (Bonnie Buckley Maldonado)

“Jim was so welcoming and generous when I joined the group. His sparkling eyes made me think he was concealing secret merriment that would soon burst out. His contributions to our world will be missed.” (Becky Young)

“Jim was a wonderful man: a kind-hearted, witty, hilarious, free-thinker.” (JJ Amaworo Wilson)

“A genuine warm-hearted man. I’ll miss him.” (Bruce Wilson)

“Jim K was one of the first people I met in Silver City and he had that incredible wit and temperament from the get go. I worked with him on a number of committees including WILL, SWFWW, and SC Community Theater. He was one of the founding members of the Friday afternoon men’s group called the Guzzling Geezers, where you had to be over 65 to guzzle. No matter what day or hour it was he always demonstrated a great love of life. He never forgot to mention that Linda was the greatest thing that happened to him. He of course would talk about his cruises, trips to Santa Fe Opera and once in a while out would pop a tale or two about his vaudeville and TV life, including being a part of the “Little House on the Prairie” series. He could always sense when a joke needed to be told to kinda brighten up your day. Seeing both Linda and Jim together, whether it be in Albertsons, Public Library, driving in the truck or wherever, they were the perfect couple enjoying life. I miss him terribly – he was one of the best!” (Ted Presler)

“I only met Jim at the SWFWW meeting once but came away with such a vivid impression of his upbeat, youthful energy, learning later of the trials and illness he dealt with on a daily basis. It was a reminder to me, his gratitude in the face of adversity, mind over matter, and the choice we have to live every day to its fullest. I feel privileged to have glimpsed that window into his positive life.” (Lynne Zotalis)

“I will never forget his wry, witty banter and the way he would ask, “How’s it going, kid?” when he entered the library.” (Lillian Galloway)

Our heartfelt condolences to Jim’s wife, Linda.

RIP Lisa Lenard-Cook, 1952-2016

Lenard-Cook, LisaIt is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lisa Lenard-Cook. Lisa was a writer, writing coach, editor and co-founder of the literary journal bosque. She delighted everyone who came into contact with her and we were privileged to have Lisa as one of our presenters at the 2015 Southwest Festival of the Written Word.

When Lisa was 8 years old, she told her mother her ambitions in life: to be a writer who lived in the country with thirteen dogs. Two out of three ain’t bad. She never had more than “six or seven” dogs at one time, according to her husband, Bob!

Lisa made her name with the 2003 novel Dissonance, which won significant recognition including the Jim Sagel/Red Crane Books Award for the Novel, and a place on the short-list for the PEN Southwest Book Award. She followed it up with Coyote Morning, which also received critical acclaim. Lisa’s third novel, Her Secret Life, will be posthumously published in 2017.

Besides her own writing, Lisa took great pleasure in helping other writers fulfill their potential. She co-founded the ABQ Writers Co-op and was an immensely popular teacher at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and various other venues across the United States. Her workshop at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, entitled A Quick Tour of Writing and Publishing in 2015, was typical: well-informed and presented with humor and style. She made an indelible impression on all of us here in Silver City.

We send our condolences and best wishes to Lisa’s family and friends.

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