On Saturday, November 8th, I attended readings by poet Gabe Gomez (The Outer Bands) and prose writer Michelle Otero (Malinche's Daughter) organized by Francisco Aragon (Director of the Institute for Latino Studies--Notre Dame) and in support of Letras Latinas and Momotombo Press. I highly recommend these emerging writers--Gomez's poetry is an example of what's new and exciting in contemporary Latino poetry and Otero's lyric prose lies in a long and important tradition of writing that takes on socio-political and feminist issues. And check out the Institute for Latino Studies, also doing wonderful work.
Later that evening, I did a short reading at the 25th anniversary gala of the Santa Fe Institute. SFI is a research and education center that promotes multidisciplinary collaborations in the physical, biological, computational, and social sciences with an emphasis on complex systems. I read "science" poetry by Edgar Allen Poe, e.e. cummings, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, A.R. Ammons, Maria Melendez, Joy Harjo, and others. SFI chose the theme of the "road less traveled" for the gala, so I finished the reading with Frost's poem (with the same phrase). I made the point that good poetry is (like SFI) multidisciplinary and complex, emphasizing the coming together of what may seem like "unrelated" ideas and disciplines. I sometimes joke with my students that they need not take any classes but poetry--with poetry they study philosophy, pop culture, psychology, nature, love, death, politics, etc., all at once.
This morning at the Southside Library, I met with 200 grade school students, grades 4-6, with ArtWorks. Artworks (a wonderful Santa Fe-based program) brings community resources together to integrate arts education in elementary classrooms. Poet-Teachers Joan Logghe and Tim McLaughlin had spent the last few weeks working with the young students, sharing some of my poetry and guiding them to write their own. I read and discussed my poems, answered student questions, and got the kids to recite parts of my poems with me. They were terrific, and so is ArtWorks.
These three events remind me of why I love Santa Fe--so much going on, all the time.