Monday, March 23, 2009

You Are Invited

Friends and Visitors—

If you’re free this week, Wednesday or Friday evening, you are invited to the following special events.

1. The College of Santa Fe in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Women & Creativity 2009) and Recursos de Santa Fe present Valerie Martínez, Santa Fe Poet Laureate, reading her new book-length poem, Each and Her, on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the Southwest Literary Center/Recursos on 826 Camino de Monte Rey, Santa Fe. The reading is free and open to the public.

Each and Her is a book-length, collage poem that addresses (among other things) the murders of over four hundred women in Juarez, Mexico since 1993. At the same time, the poem engages with works of contemporary Mexican poets, photographers, and painters; American theologians; Latin American and Chicano writers; Martinez’s memories of traveling to Juarez as a young girl, as well as facts about the maquiladora industry and the cultivation of roses. It is a wide-ranging poem which has, as its central impulse, a reckoning with femicide in its relation to memory, geography, economics, literature, and religion. Sections of the manuscript recently appeared in the American Poetry Review, Mandorla, and Breach Press and will appear in the anthology JUNTA: Contemporary Writing of the Latino/a Avant-Garde (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010). University of Arizona Press will publish Each and Her in 2010.

Martínez is the author of three books of poetry, one book of translations (of Uruguay’s Delmira Agustini), and Reinventing the Enemy’s Language, the most comprehensive anthology of contemporary native women’s writing to date. She is on the faculty of the Dept. of Creative Writing & Literature at the College of Santa Fe and Santa Fe Poet Laureate for 2008-2010.

Contact Recursos/SW Literary Center at: 505-982-9301. To get there, turn south on Camino de Monte Sol which is off St. Francis Drive between St. Michael's and Alta Vista.

2. SCA Contemporary Art, in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Women & Creativity Month, 2009), will present an Ekphrastic performance entitled “Capitalism: Fueled by Envy and Greed” on Friday, March 27, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at SCA Contemporary Art, 524 Haines NW, in Albuquerque. The performance, by poets and spoken word artists Valerie Martínez, Maureen Seaton, and Jasmine Cuffee, is a response to sheri crider’s installation, of the same name, which includes a scale replica of a section of a 1946 Albuquerque home constructed with materials (destined for landfills) culled from local construction sites. The performance is free and open to the public.

Ekphrasis is the dramatic representation of a visual work of art and describes a long tradition of poets responding to art and architecture. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively--to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name. Crider’s “Capitalism: Fueled by Envy and Greed” examines issues of affluence, land usage, waste, and consumption in relation to our notions of “house” and “home.” Large Gouache paintings depict dramatic alterations of the landscape as a result of residential construction. “Footprint 1946,” the largest piece in the exhibition, is a section of a house frame constructed with materials and household items (some commercial, some very personal) that crider has salvaged from Albuquerque construction sites and sign shops over the last two years.

Valerie Martínez is the current Santa Fe Poet Laureate, on the faculty of College of Santa Fe, and Co-Artistic Director of Littleglobe, Inc., an artist-run non-profit that collaborates with communities on art and community dialogue projects. Maureen Seaton is the author of thirteen books, both solo and collaborative, including Sex Talks to Girls (a memoir) and Cave of the Yellow Volkwagen (poetry). Jasmine Cuffee is co- founder of the “Duke City Youth Poetry Collective,” a member of the award-winning 2004 Albuquerque poetry slam team and 2007-2008 Individual City Slam Champion.

SCA is dedicated to facilitating space for experimental, innovative and contemporary art, presenting exhibitions by emerging and established, local, national and international artists working with large scale sculpture, painting, print, drawing, photography, installation, sound and video art.

For more information, contact SCA Contemporary Art at (505) 228-3749

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The College of Santa Fe, and More

Hello, and sorry for the hiatus. So much to report about and comment on--it's been a very tumultuous month. Of course, in the forefront of my mind is the impending closing of the College of Santa Fe, where I have been a full time faculty member since 2003. As you may know, the college has declared a financial emergency and faculty and staff received letters telling us that the college will close on May 15th. In addition, staff members have been reduced to 3/4 time at 3/4 salary. Faculty members' salaries have been cut anywhere from 12% to 70%, perhaps more. In the meantime, Representative Luciano Varela has introduced House Bill 577 in the New Mexico Legislature which would approve state acquisition of the college. Though the bill has made it through the House and is winding its way through Senate Committees, there is no guarantee, in this economic climate, that the Senate will approve it.

These are hard times on campus, with student, faculty, and staff morale low. Each student must plan a new future, and graduating seniors have one enormous cloud hanging over their commencement. Even so, the CSF community (including some amazing groups of students) have organized very, very effectively to lobby for the bill at the legislature. We receive email and text message alerts; the college provides van service to the Roundhouse from campus; hundreds of email messages, letters and phone calls have been send to legislators.

Below is one of the versions of the letter I have sent to legislators, with which I'll end this entry. If you'd like to support the CSF effort, please contact your New Mexico legislators to urge them to save CSF for all the reasons I explain below. Thank you.

March 5, 2009

Dear Members of the Senate Education Committee:

I write to urge you to argue passionately for state acquisition of the College of Santa Fe. My parents are alumnae (1956 and 1972) of the college and I am Associate Prof. of English & Creative Writing at CSF. In addition, I am currently the Poet Laureate of the city of Santa Fe and CSF has enthusiastically supported my work as the city’s poet.

This is my sixth year on the faculty of the College of Santa Fe. My department, the Creative Writing and Literature Program, is consistently ranked as one of the top three undergraduate writing programs in the U.S. Often, we are ranked first because of our rigorous paradigm and the successful performance of our graduating majors in the working and writing worlds. Our department is also distinctive because of our faculty—five award-winning, nationally recognized writers who are actively publishing. This is rare for an undergraduate creative writing program.

My father and mother, both graduates of CSF, devoted a total of 55 years as teachers in the Santa Fe Public Schools. They were accomplished teachers and coaches for SFPS and are currently engaged in a wide range of community service programs. In their footsteps, I have also undertaken a career in teaching and also (as Poet Laureate and Artistic Director of the non-profit Littleglobe, Inc.) have dedicated myself to art and public service.

The seeds for our careers and lives were either sparked, supported and/or nurtured by the College of Santa Fe, its staff, administration and faculty. And there are hundreds of us (as you know) who have been thus influenced by the college.

I know the acquisition may seem like a matter of money in a dire economic climate. But it is much more. The state has a unique opportunity to acquire a college campus in the middle of the city of Santa Fe—no small matter if only considering the real estate. Much more importantly, the state has the opportunity to create and promote a state educational institution with distinct possibilities for being a nationally ranked arts and liberal arts school. When the economic crisis passes, this will have seemed like an incredibly visionary and wise decision.


Valerie Martínez
Associate Prof. of English & Creative Writing, CSF
Santa Fe Poet Laureate