Short Story Contest for the SC Quarterly Review

The Silver City Quarterly Review, a literary showcase of local authors, is holding a short story writing contest for its spring issue 2017. Submissions must be fiction, can be any topic and must be limited to 1500 words. There is a $10 fee per entry. Each author can submit more than one entry. The deadline is 9pm March 15th, 2017. An editorial panel will select the first and second prize winners. First prize will win 75% of the collected purse and be featured in the spring issue of the Quarterly Review (published April 1st, 2017). Second prize will win 25% and also be published in the spring issue. The Review asks that entrants email all submissions to before the deadline. Instructions for payment of the entry fee will be sent when submissions are received. For more information, see the contest post on or email with any questions.

Aldo Leopold Writing Contest for Grades 6-12

Aldo Leopold examining tamarack, presumably at his Sauk County, Wisconsin retreatNew Mexico students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to enter the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest to celebrate Leopold’s land ethic and win a cash prize. The deadline is 11:59pm on Thursday, February 7, and the awards ceremony will be at the first annual Leopold Lecture on Sunday, April 23 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. As stated on the program website, the goal of the contest is “to engage the next generation of citizen leaders in an urgent conversation about how to address the changing realities brought about by climate disruption, biodiversity loss, growing freshwater demands, and other pressing global conservation issues.” A downloadable entry form and additional information about other related initiatives can be found at

Borrow e-books for Free

Voracious readers, take note: you don’t have to buy everything you download for your e-reader. Instead, you can borrow e-books from your public library! Most public libraries in the United States now offer e-books in addition to physical items. The Silver City Public Library collaborates with many other small libraries in New Mexico to put together a large collection of e-books and downloadable audiobooks for our community members to borrow. The collaborative collection is called New Mexico Library To-Go.

To access this service, you will need an up-to-date library card. If you have not used your Silver City Public Library card for a couple years, you will probably need to stop by the library to update your account. You will use your library card number and account information to log in (ask a library staff member for details). Once your card is ready, the next step is to visit on a personal computer or download the OverDrive library e-books app–a free app available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. The app will help your device to manage the items you borrow. If you belong to more than one library that lends e-books, you can add all your libraries to the same OverDrive app to borrow items. E-books and downloadable audiobooks from New Mexico Library To-Go can be checked out for two weeks at a time. When an item expires, your device will inform you the next time you open New Mexico Library To-Go. The expired item will be erased automatically.

silver city public library logoIf you need any assistance or have any questions about borrowing e-books and downloadable audiobooks, contact Silver City Public Library staff at 575-538-3672 or

As time goes on, your local library is becoming so much more than the books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, magazines, newspapers, and other physical items available in our building. Communities can now benefit 24/7 from their libraries’ online services, too!

-Lillian Galloway, Festival public library liaison

Congratulations to Award-winning Silver City Authors

JJ Wilson (left) and Sharman Apt Russell hold their award-winning books

JJ Wilson (left) and Sharman Apt Russell hold their award-winning books. Photo courtesy Jay Hemphill, WNMU.

Sharman Apt Russell’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door and JJ Amaworo Wilson’s Damnificados won New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in, respectively, the Science Fiction and the Fiction categories. Two other Silver City authors were also finalists – Ron Hamm, for Ross Calvin, Interpreter of the American Southwest, and Catalina Claussen, for Diamonds at Dusk – so it was a great year for our literary community. The full list of winners can be found here: This article about the awards and winners may also be of interest:

River Trip Poetry Group

rivertrippoetrygroupBoth seasoned and emerging poets are invited to participate in the newly-launched River Trip Poetry Group, an ongoing experiential poetry group meeting on 2nd Tuesdays, 10 to 11:30 am at Yankie Creek Coffee House (Yankie Street at Texas Street in Silver City, NM).

This poetry group, sponsored by the River Chapter of New Mexico State Poetry Society, 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 (the Poet Laureate of Silver City) and Stewart S. Warren (author and drifter).

The next poetry session will be on December 13th at 10am.

An Evening with the Maestro – Reflection by JJ Wilson

JJ Wilson shares his thoughts on Juan Felipe Herrera’s visit:

The 21st Poet Laureate of the Unites States came to little Silver City this week. The place will never be the same. Herrera was a hurricane of ideas, poetry, stories, music and love.

In front of a packed house, he talked (and sang) about his childhood, about his days tending farm animals, about his father’s experiences jumping trains to get from Chihuahua to Colorado, and about a Buddhist cinema that inspired a poem. He spoke about the power of community to heal wounds in troubled times, and he marveled at our little community, which is full of poets and artists and musicians.

Juan Felipe Herrera and JJ Wilson read together at Light Hall, WNMU

Photo by Stewart Hale for Silver City Daily Press and Independent

There’s no other word for it: Herrera was sensational. With a gesture of his hand he conjured honey pouring from the heart; with just a few licks on his harmonica he magicked up happy times; with a fold of a tiny piece of paper he showed how a poem becomes a bird. Hell, the dude even let me do a duet with him – I read in English, he in Spanish.

Besides being a great poet, Herrera is just a tremendously inspiring man. He’s never forgotten his humble roots and I don’t think he’ll ever tire of encouraging people to express themselves and to go forward with love and curiosity. Bravo, maestro. You filled our hearts with love and life!


Review of “Notes on the Assemblage”

Juan Felipe Herrera photoNotes on the Assemblage by Juan Felipe Herrera
Review by JJ Wilson originally posted here.

Juan Felipe Herrera is a protean figure, a one-man dynamo: an actor, activist, professor, musician, author of thirty books, and now the first Latino Poet Laureate of the United States.

His personal story is extraordinary. His parents were migrant workers, constantly on the move across California. He found an alternative path when he won a scholarship to UCLA, and the harsh realities of the migrant workers’ life were replaced by books and ideas. He went on to receive a Masters degree from Stanford and then an MFA from Iowa, something of a badge of belonging for any up-and-coming poet.

But he has never forgotten where he came from, and across most of his work we see life’s hardships silhouetted against the sun-kissed landscapes of California. If his is a story of personal reinvention, then this finds echoes in his writing. Besides his eclectic poetry and film scripts, there are dazzling books for children and young adults, several of which have garnered big prizes.  Notes on the Assemblage is yet another fabulous work.

Here, as always, Herrera defies categorization. At one moment he writes about social issues – the 43 murdered Mexican students, Syria, police killings of African Americans. Then you turn the page and Herrera has become the heir of Wallace Stevens – a trickster, a master of language that dances in the mind. There are also the joyful echoes of Ginsberg and the Beats, ee cummings, and Burciaga.

Notes on the Assemblage coverThis collection consists of eight sections, each named for one of the poems therein. The first section, “Ayotzinapa,” is arguably the strongest. “Ayotzinapa” and “And if the man with the choke-hold” are powerful works of social protest. Punctuation-free, they come across as artful streams of consciousness, wails, laments too deeply felt to take a breath.  The other great protest poem in this collection, “We Are Remarkably Loud Not Masked,” is narrated by a marcher recalling the names of the murdered – Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and others – and mixing past (the lost lives) and present (“we march touch hands lean back leap forth”).

Herrera’s social conscience underpins the book but does not overwhelm it. Poems such as “En la media medianoche”/”In the mid of midnight” are paeans to imagery (rumba and chocolate!) and language, and they defy meaning. His command of form across the whole collection includes modernist experimentation, dialogic poems flowing in Spanish and English, odes to the recently deceased, and ekphrastic poetry inspired by the art of Lazo, Albizu and others.

Notes on the Assemblage consolidates Herrera’s reputation as a fearless innovator and a great poet. Bravo, maestro. Ha hecho de nuevo!


Reading and Book Signing with Catalina Claussen

Catalina Claussen reads from Diamonds At DuskCatalina Claussen will appear at Miller Library on the WNMU campus for a reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 20.  Claussen is the author of Diamonds at Dusk, a young adult novel set in southwestern New Mexico, released in March by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press.

The book has been selected as a finalist in the 2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Winners will be announced Nov. 18.

Claussen, a founding English teacher at Aldo Leopold Charter High School in Silver City, is a graduate of Reed College, Prescott College and Western New Mexico University. She wrote Diamonds at Dusk in part to fill a need–she saw a dearth of books for youth that portray rural life. Here is a synopsis of the story:

It’s hard to miss Cascade Rose Jennings. She’s the one in cowgirl boots who up until this morning wasn’t interested in boys. But, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday something inside her knocks loose.

DiamondsAtDuskHis name is Chadwick Dean Holbrook, a college prep school boy from Albuquerque and Cassie’s long-time “fair weather” friend. Every year, at summer’s end he disappears from her Grandpa Norm’s high desert ranch in southwestern New Mexico. This time, he promises to stay for Cassie’s birthday. Just when Cassie thinks she can count on him, Chad breaks his promise. He leaves behind an endearing, flirtatious treasure hunt. Cassie, filled with renewed hope, stifles a pang of jealousy when she discovers, her best friend, Ahzi Toadlena, is in on it. To make things worse, Cassie meets Maverick Britton, a charming misfit who threatens to steal her heart and the gold her Grandpa has kept quiet about all these years. Maverick has a dark secret that unwittingly draws Cassie and Ahzi into his perilous world. Chad, protective of his childhood friends, knows Maverick’s kind. He returns in time to rescue Ahzi and help Cassie win back the gold. In the end, Cassie realizes that her friendships, her family, and deep connection to the land mean more to her than any romance.

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)

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