Monday, September 29, 2008

Writers Retreat

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More Savage Chickens from Doug Savage 0n writing, poetry, art, talking like a pirate, the meaning of life and more

Friday, September 19, 2008

ABQ Poetry Slam City Championship

from NM Slam list

The ABQ Poetry Slam CITY CHAMPIONSHIP will be taking place 7:30 p.m. SATURDAY SEPT. 27 at the BANK OF AMERICA THEATER at the Nat. Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico, Fourth and Stadium SW, Albuquerque. $8 adults/$5 students, seniors and NHCC members

The City Championship is a four-round slam with 1, 2, 3, and 4 minute rounds to choose the city's representative at the 2008 International World Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C.

10 ABQ performance poets -- Tony Santiago, Hakim Bellamy, Damien Flores, Zach Kluckman, Jessica Lopez, Sal Treppiedi, Liza Wolff, Joe "Chupa" Romero, Tracey Pontani, Lee Francis IV and Jasmine Cuffee -- will compete to be the top slammer in the Duke City

ABQ Slam veteran Don McIver will hosting the show; music by DJ Smartiepants.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Instant Poetry

Yes, that's what I wrote. Neither typo nor hallucination. Stuck & can't get a word out? Use this Interactive Poetry Form Finder to find just the right Instant Poetry form. Use them for warm up exercises too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Something decidedly different in the poetry line... and appropriate. The Freakonomics blog @ NYT recently asked readers for economic haikus. Responded enthusiastically, with more than 300 separate entries.

No. 1

Demand curve slopes down
Because the more cake I eat,
The less cake I want.

No. 2

A friend and I, jailed;
We agreed to stay silent
(But I still confessed).

No. 3

No matter how hard
I shake my money maker,
It is not enough.

No. 4

Sales of ice cream seem
To correlate with crime rate?
Simply summer heat.

No. 5

Can we work it out
If there aren’t transaction costs?
But of Coase we can.

No. 6

Haiku writers know
The opportunity cost
Of a syllable.

And the New Six-Word Motto for the U.S. Is …

Thursday, September 11, 2008

STIR Schedule for Friday & Saturday

from Lisa Gill, submitted by Dale Harris, who notes
My big whup is at the Harwood on Saturday, will be part of Wordstock book fair at the Libros Book Arts Group table, demo'ing one page chapbook (yes, you can make a book from a single sheet of lettre sized paper) then at Waiting for Goddell Picnic at noon outside in the Poets Circle at the Harwood Yard. Sunday, there is a book release luncheon for LOOKING BACK TO PLACE anthology, I'm fortunate to be one of the poets in that. There's an open mic and Scott is catering lunch.

STIR is here in a matter of hours... and We're looking forward to a wild ride this weekend!!! Website is http://stirwordfest .wordpress. com and that has bios, details, event descriptions, more...

Tix are now going to be as friendly a cost as we can make it with suggested donations at all events! A sliding scale with many events free or pass the hat... Events through 4pm are free (donations welcome) every day with the exception of some workshops. On Friday there's a suggested donation of $10 for Mitote and
Floetry with a student discount available... and Regie's show is $10 firm.... All seating is limited and first come first serve due to venue capacities and fire code...

The program with all the info and maps etc and will be available Friday at UNM in the atrium of the SUB, Student Union Building on UNM campus, or from the Harwood and Saturday at the Harwood...

All Friday events are on campus. 10am through 8pm floetry show in the SUB, then the at the Arts Lab for Regie Cabico and the mini dome...

Friday Schedule:
10:00 Workshop on publishing with editors of Blue Mesa Review upstairs SUB
11:00 Damien Flores and Jessica Lopez run a performance workshop upstairs SUB
12:00 Brownbag reading with LoBo Slam's Jessica Lopez, Damien Flores, Lee Francis in the SUBAtrium
2:00 Panel discussion on getting poetry into the community, a great networking opportunity if you want to teach in schools upstairs SUB
4:00 MFA creative writing grad student reading upstairs SUB
4:00 Youth event hosted by Sal Treppiedi
6:00 Women's showcase uptairs SUB with Maisha Baton, Miriam Sagan, Maria Lebya more..
8:00 FLOETRY with DJ Diles and basement films lots of poets hosted by Hakim Bellamy
10:00 Regie Cabico's one man show at Arts Lab with opening in mini-dome

For details, check out the STIR website at

10am to 4pm, Wordstock all day: A
small press book fair at the Harwood Art Center which will feature tables and readings from all kinds of presses and literary magazines.. don't forget to BRING YOUR HAIKU for the Hoo hah,

10 am Youth Workshop with Danny Solis
12 Noon Poetry Picnic at the Poet's Plaza with host Larry Goodell
Panel Discussion on Can Poetry Matter at the Harwood
4pm BOOK LUNG at 516 Arts...


Then STIR's big show, Saturday night 7:30 pm at SBCC with
Joy Harjo and her band Arrow Dynamics... It's going to be amazing... And the opening act will be too with Carmelo de los Santos on violin, and poets Hakim Bellamy, Dana Levin and Demetria Martinez. Info about Joy. Tickets for that event are $25, $20 students/poets, $10 for kids under 14. Venue is the beautiful theater in South Broadway Cultural Center 1025 Broadway South of Central... Call the Harwood 242-6367 for tickets or

We may well sell out so I suggest making the call...

After Joy Harjo's show, you'll want to catch Hydra at 10 pm One-Up, a group pieces slam, which will also feature performances by NYer Regie Cabico, and Canadians
Sheri-D Wilson and Catherine Kidd... and it'll have a special Hydra drink available and raffles and more...$10 firm.... All seating is limited and first come first serve due to venue capacities and fire code

This Town - pictures

through the gate & into town for a "poet's tour"

All I might want, from archery set to zoot suit

Peeling paint and sly trompe l’oeil
This is my town

In this town, sheet metal horses gallop toward the old Baca building –

There are cowboys everywhere Chamber of Commerce even ordered up A street full of dark handsome men of steel

Construction paper sunflowers exhibit names of nascent artists

This town celebrates its history on walls
Trains run through buildings on Broadway

A train rounds the red rock mural on Ripley
clickety clacks for real real behind P & M

a converted livestock long house –
tongue & groove, tin roof, broken brick chimney

This is my town.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Town (group poem, long)

At long last - here's the Group Poem from the recent Sunflower Writing Workshop. Please see Dale's introduction. "This Town" follows its performance structure, with part i-iv made up of stanzas or "rounds" by individual poets. You'll notice that some write about their own towns: not every specific reference is to Mountainair. Yet, these rounds tie their towns to this town (Mountainair) while connecting "this town" to other small towns everywhere. Breaking the "this town = Mountainair" pattern reinforces it all the more. I hope Mountainair readers will also recognize

I considered illustrating "This Town" from my collection of Mountainair digital images so reader could see specific local images mentioned in poem. A good idea, but the poem is already long - pushing blog length limits - and late. Maybe somewhere on the PWP web site. Or go all hypertext with links to images. Another good idea - but one that might delay getting this online. When I get to it - whether as illustrated web page or same blog post with hyperlinks embedded, I'll blog you a notice + link.

This town
(by Maureen Hightower, Karin Bradberry, Dale Harris, Sylvia Ramos, Shirley Blackwell, Susan Paquet, Terry Sedal, Nadine Lockhart)
This town –
Between missions
Containing crossroads
Eccentric hotel –
Pueblo Art Deco” –
I love it!

This town –
Small shops
Funky houses
No golden arches –
Pre-generica America

This is my town


This town celebrates its history on walls
Trains run through buildings on Broadway
Puffing between red rocks, mountains
and the Enchantment Salon.
An eagle swoops to pounce on its prey
Peeling paint and sly trompe l’oeil,
This is my town

This town
has faux store fronts
businesses that open & close before you know they’re there
there are bullet holes in some of the buildings
crosses with plastic flowers at the bend of the road
too many dead teenagers
This is my town

Strewn around this town are reminders of the past
Skeletal farm vehicles rust in weed-choked lots
Stone houses, their apertures boarded, stand solid and silent.
Hardware store window displays a riot of inventory-
All I might want, from archery set to zoot suit.
I grew up in a far away town, yet this is my town.


In this town, directions to a place include landmarks that used to be there.
Street names and precise distances are irrelevant to all but strangers
We take our bearings from milepost markers, water tanks, and blue metal roofs.
We turn left at the “Old Caldwell Place,” which has seen
Four owners and thirty years since Pop Caldwell died
And look for the hippie-painted mailbox by the gate. This is my town.


In this town

You might see
A pair of thousand dollar cowboy boots with a
Trophy blond hanging like a puppy on his side

You might hear
Janglin spurs scratching up a brand new maroon SUV

But he ain’t from here
Mountainair got real cowboys

This is my town.

In my town today,
the Cayadotta Creek
still has remnants
of red, white & blue,
has dead water
and fish with no eyes.
Empty broken
buildings line Main
Street and a Wal-Mart
Distribution Center now
Resides where
“made in the USA” used to be.
Is this my town?


In this town, sheet metal horses gallop
toward the old Baca building –
where chevys were sold instead of real estate
where working cowboys leaned on lampposts
instead of their replacements in metal
silhouettes. The greyhound station was running
not a leftover from a movie set.
This is my town.


This town sports pressed tin ceilings,
elaborate copper gates.
A fake Greyhound Bus Station
that won’t get you anywhere,
animal pelts its only contents.
The real Rosebud Saloon,
Sundries and novelties galore.
This is my town.

In this town
trains go by on the hour but seldom stop
jobs are scarce, pay is low
there’s ranching nearby, even an ostrich farm
beans were big in the thirties, forties,
gone by the fifties, too dry
a wind farm is under construction
that may be the best crop yet

This is my town


This town is deserted as I walk around
in twilight just before my poetry writing workshop.
No one waits for the bus at the Greyhound Station.
The sinewy canine leaping from its wall
reminds me of my mother’s trips to family in D.C.
All at once, this town is populated and feels like my town.


This town understands the economy of barter:
Home-baked, whole grain bread for a dozen fresh duck eggs,
Putting in a well for putting up a barn,
A jar of organic, analgesic salve with comfrey & lavender
For a painting of a sunflower in a green Mason jar
Done by arthritic hands. This is my town.

In this town

There are cowboys everywhere
Chamber of Commerce even ordered up
A street full of dark handsome men of steel

If you look long enough
You might even see one
Raise his silhouette hat. Nod his head
And shyly say,
Howdy Mam

Every store and storefront got cowboys
Painted, sketched, framed
And hanging from the wall
Looking all handsome
And givin you a slight smile
While you eat your full enchilada, tamale, taco plate
Never once saying you might not need the extra pounds

This is my town

In my town kids
play basketball at Briggs Field,
owned roller skates with keys on strings,
had Miss Gruwén for French class and
walked to church on Sunday.

This is my town

This town dips its schoolchildren in water
paints and tissue paper, turns them into
Sunflowers hanging in vacant store windows.
A train rounds the red rock mural on Ripley,
clickety clacks for real in back of P & M –
a converted livestock long house – tongue & groove,
tin roof, broken brick chimney
This is my town.



In this town folks struggle to stay afloat
Tom at the Town & Country Market
gives me a free cuppa joe
grouses if he had to make his living on coffee
doesn’t know how those other folks do it.
This is my town.


In this town ghosts lodge at the old hotel
I heard them late last night – giggling
ladies and whispering men outside my door.
I wondered what the fun was all about
but was afraid to ask
My little country town also had
phantasmal guests.
As I floated back to sleep, I thought,
This is my town.


This town understands the value of a trade:
An hour’s massage therapy to ease a strained back
For an hour’s tractor work on intractable weeds,
Neighborly hands to clean the house, prepare food for the wake,
Stroke sobbing shoulders -- in trade for the tears
Of grieving parents. This is my town.


In this town

Cowboys are not just painted or leaning on main street

We got the real thing strong and breathin
Able to wrestle a steer, tie a fence and stretch their
Last ten dollars to the next pay day

They’ve rode a bronc, rode a bull, cracked
A rib when they hit the ground

This is my town

My town was once
a thriving mill town
streets lined with
neat & tidy houses,
and sidewalks with no cracks.
“The Glove City” was a
melting pot of Slovak
immigrants & whoever
else jumped in along the way.

This was my town.


In this town elegant monkeys in fancy dress
Get married on Main Street
Next to dusty mounted Big Horn sheep
Beaver, bobcat, antelope, raccoon
Parade through storefront widows
But the barbershop is gone (closed?).
This is my town.


This town is not deserted. The evidence
of life is everywhere. A realty shop
opens its door right next to Clifford’s
where men line up for Saturday morning ablutions.

Construction paper sunflowers exhibit
names of nascent artists,
the town’s inhabitants of tomorrow. Just
like my town.


In this town, first graders are preceded in the classroom
By their siblings’ reputations.
In this town is much headshaking and doubt
When a ragged, quiet bookworm from Shantytown
(Whose parents never read bedtime stories to their
flock of children)
Becomes class valedictorian and wins the Kiwanis
Scholarship. This is my town.

In this town

Our cowboys are the real thing, strong and breathin
Sweet whispers against my waiting skin

This is my town

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Page - Poetry, essays, ideas

The Page: linked review excerpts, poetry, essays, language, ideas. No not Mark Halperin's political commentary site by the same name. The main (center) column of this Page contains nothing but two-line excerpts from reviews of poetry, with links filling right and left static sidebars.

New Literary Art Form Discovered! "In praise of the praise of poetry" (Ron Rosenblum, Slate) took me there, which may make this recounting out of order.

On the home page of The Page, there are about a hundred two-line entries, each linked to a longer review.

But if you forget about the review they link to and just read each two-liner as a kind of haiku, you can apprehend each as a beautifully distilled "object, self-created."

So many are so well-written! Almost all of them! They undertook what Eliot called the task of poetry, a "raid on the inarticulate," and came back with pure gold

Twitters of poetic genius—

Just in the mailbox: Poetry Daily Newsletter for September 8 (but available online); Lunarosity announces appearance of September issue. and calls for submissions to winter issues (guidelines online)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Poetry Saturday, September 6

Sat. Sept. 6 Haiku Potluck and writing session

From Shirley Blackwell, Rio Grande Valencia Chapter of the New Mexico Poetry Society:

Last call for RSVPs for Sat. Sept. 6 Haiku Potluck and writing session! Please respond to Shirley Blackwell by Thursday evening, Sept 4, ASAP, and include your telephone number so that she can call you on Friday if Saturday looks like a bust.

Sat. Sept. 6, noon to 4:00 pm, at the home of Shirley Blackwell, 18 Blackberry Lane, Los Lunas 87031, a Haiku potluck luncheon and writing session with a mini-refresher on Japanese poetry forms, and writing session. There is an option for the group to submit their haiku to Jim Applegate, editor of small canyons haiku anthology and Coordinator of the SW Region of the Haiku Society of America. The deadline for submissions to the anthology has been extended to October 1. If you can't make the potluck but want to submit, you can send up to 10 poems for $10 (covers cost of the anthology--make checks out to Jim Applegate) to Jim at or snail mail to Jim Applegate, editor, sc3, 601 Fulkerson Drive, Roswell, NM 88203

Shirley will provide beverages and serving utensils, plates, napkins, etc. Please let her know via e-mail at or by calling her at 505-565-1806 if you will attend. Need directions? Post request in comments.

Bob Reeves at The Treehouse Saturday night 9/6

Sat. Sept. 6, 7 pm, The Treehouse reading series features poet Bob Reeves, 2nd floor of Sumner & Dene Gallery, 517 Central Ave NW in downtown Albuquerque. Signup begins at 6:30 for Open Mic at 7 pm, feature at approx. 8 pm

(Please note this is a change from their usual 2nd Saturday date in order not to conflict with the STIR Festival)

Here’s what organizer Adam Rubenstein says:

BOB REEVES has been a somewhat indigestible part of the Albuquerque poetry scene unsteadily since 1993. All the while he's managed to pull off a suspiciously authentic masquerade as a part-time professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at UNM and CNM, but keeping under the radar enough to publish his poems in such places as Fulcrum, Arsenic Lobster, Skidrow Penthouse and Permafrost. He edited the local zine Willow Street in 2000-2001 and helped produce Central Avenue from 2002 to 2007. His girlfriend and two cats allow him to live in their house, where he watches way too many movies.

A sample of his work:

two kids

he’s one
& keeps saying his sister’s name
over & over

she’s three
& keeps answering “What!”
with more & more annoyance

she’s learned
that names are beckonings

he’s only learned
that names are bursts of praise

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

STIR, no ordinary poetry festival

STIRRING the pot, one verb at a time
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No ordinary poetry festival, STIR mixes things up by showcasing an unexpected range of poetry styles and cutting edge interdisciplinary collaborations. This September 12th, 13th, and 14th, get your verb on at the STIR Fest!

Designed to both celebrate and nourish the New Mexico literary community, STIR uses words as alchemy to promote language that ignites, involves and engages the community. STIR combines words, music, arachnid anatomy, images, performance, film, books, trebuchets and catapults, masks, costumes and domes and many other unlikely artifacts and processes to create a one of a kind event.

For scheduling, tickets, and Stirwordfest's blog, visit Harwood's online STIR page.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mountainair in the company of poets

Sent by Dale Harris:

In the company of poets is surely the best possible place to be and so it was for me this year in Mountainair, Aug. 21 – 23, writing and listening to poetry in the making. I couldn't have asked for a better time (august, sumptuous sunflowers, summer, nights and early mornings beginning to cool), a better place (this small, unlikely town that never fails to beguile, enchant and even entrap! with ranching and railroading vibes, funny store fronts, not enough main street to matter, curios and curiosities, and a haunted, historic hotel) and better people to share it with (funny, smart, wise, forward, one step ahead of the herd, endlessly interesting, friends for life now). So Nadine, Sylvia, Karin, Susan, Terry, Shirley - you go, girls!! Take the literary cosmos by storm!

We tramped around town, ate pizza together, picked apart pantoums, trekked out to THE LAND/an art site where Miriam Sagan dazzled us with the brilliance of her poetics and art. Late arrivals Brenda and Maureen, thanks for putting a smile on my face when you walked in the room Saturday morning, sharing food and your friendship during the long afternoon of the Poets & Writers Picnic, an annual event I both love and dread.

My sweet husband & art partner Scott Sharot was the rock that anchored me and the wind beneath my stubby wings. His advice on how to perform a poem is always just what I need to hear and his encouragement is unfailing.

In the preceding months, Vanessa Vaile was the steady presence who poked the Sunflower Poetry Writing Workshop into shape, coming up with great resources and writing exercises. Her brochure gave it a bright face. Vanessa plugged us into the town of Mountainair's Sunflower Festival and linked everybody together with this fabulous Poets & Writers Picnic plog (what else would you call a place to blog poetry?), all mostly without complaint. Unlike me, who complained about all sorts of nonsense, right up to minute we started! Then the magic of poetry kicked in, swept me along and is with me still.

Suddenly it was Saturday morning. The group poem was still unfinished, but Scott got us on the same page and rehearsed us - truly a gifted cat herder. Stunning! serendipitous! smashing good fun. I can't say enough thanks to you all. "This Town", the poem that we wrote together, later performed at the Picnic and coming soon to blog near you, is a love letter to Mountainair and to all the other little towns we've ever lived in or wanted to.

Meet us in Mountainair, next year!


Dale Harris

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