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Thursday Oct 21, 2021. 6:00-8:00 p.m. Light Hall, WNMU.

Jack Crocker in Conversation with JJ Amaworo Wilson. Silver City and Grant County Poet Laureate emeritus Jack Crocker and WNMU writer-in-residence JJ Amaworo Wilson discuss their latest books: The Algorithm of I (Jack Crocker) & Nazaré (JJ Amaworo Wilson), followed by book sales and signing. Refreshments will be served on the patio 6:00-7:00. Program starts 7:00. This face-to-face event will also be broadcast live on Zoom.

J.J. Amaworo Wilson’s new novel Nazaré tells the story of a peasants’ revolt in the polyglot city of Balaal. A homeless boy and the washerwoman who adopts him cobble together a ramshackle army of fishermen, shopkeepers, lapsed nuns, anarchist bats, and an itinerant camel in an attempt to end the reign of Balaal’s dictator. Looming over the disparate cast of characters is the legend of the giant wave—Nazaré—that will one day annihilate everyone and everything in the city.

The novel is an adventure story and a parable that pits the oppressed against the oppressor. The work has been likened to that of Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa in its use of language, its inventiveness, its humor, and its examination of issues of justice.

Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate, writes of Nazaré: “There is tenderness, transcendence and the voyages into the unknown we all seek to enter and be reborn. Amaworo Wilson’s dexterity, abundant materials, culture lens and visual genius gives us a rare, ground-shaking novel, a tidal wave of prizes.”

Denise Chávez, American Book Award winner, author of The King and Queen of Comezón and Loving Pedro Infante, says: “JJ Amaworo Wilson is a word magician, and Nazaré is an extraordinary and inventive allegory for our time, a kaleidoscopic adventure of epic proportions. Its mighty and potent message is simple and true: evil will ever be defeated by the goodness of great souls.”

JJ Amaworo Wilson is a German-born Anglo-Nigerian-American writer. His 2016 novel, Damnificados, won three international awards, was an Oprah Top 10 pick, and has since been translated into French and German. His work has appeared in African American Journal, Justice Journal, The Penguin Book of New Black Writing, and many other publications. He has lived in eleven countries, traveled to 70, and speaks four languages. He is the Writer in Residence for Western New Mexico University and the Editorial Director for Mimbres Press.

The Algorithm of I: Poems by Jack Crocker holds up a mirror to the human condition whose reflections, while intensely personal, are timeless in their search for an essential self.

Joseph Shepard, President of WNMU, writes: “The Algorithm of I is a reflective journey of intellectual prowess that spins nostalgia with purpose and wonders about life, faith, and human evolution. It reflects Jack’s journey of self-examination incorporating his influences and influencers. It questions chance, randomness, and the universe itself. The writing is both blissfully beautiful and subtle. It transcends the era of Jack’s physical journey to the culmination of the ultimate journey of inward thought and consciousness that makes us human.”

The Algorithm of I is Jack Crocker’s second collection of poems. The first, The Last Resort, was published in 2009 by the Texas Review Press. His poems have appeared in The Texas Review, Southern Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, The Cimarron Review, and other journals. His poems have been anthologized in The Texas Anthology, Mississippi Writers: Reflections of Childhood, Texas Stories and Poems, and Florida in Poetry. He scripted and performed “Introduction to Folksongs” for Mississippi Educational Television, which was aired nationally. He has written songs for StayFreePublishing Company and had a recording contract with FretoneRecords of Memphis, Tennessee. Having received college scholarships for basketball and baseball, he is Dean Emeritus of Florida Gulf Coast University, and currently professor of English and provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Western New Mexico University.    

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.