Friday, April 05, 2013

'My Favorite Poem' Project

Luci Tapahonso

Acclaimed poet and for­mer U.S. Poet Lau­re­ate Rita Dove wrote, “By mak­ing us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an oppor­tu­nity to think about our­selves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other.”

In this same spirit, com­mu­nity mem­bers of Santa Fe and Albu­querque will gather to share poems they love dur­ing National Poetry Month in April. The read­ings are hosted by the UNM Eng­lish Depart­ment and the Insti­tute of Amer­i­can Indian Arts and are directed by award-winning poet and UNM pro­fes­sor Luci Tapa­honso. The read­ings begin at 6 p.m. on Fri­day evenings: UNM Zim­mer­man Library (Willard Room) on April 5 and in the Waters Room, also at Zim­mer­man on April 19, and at IAIA (CLE Com­mons) on April 12 and April 26. The events are free, open to the pub­lic and a recep­tion will follow.

The “My Favorite Poem” Project is based on for­mer US Poet Lau­re­ate Robert Pinsky’s ini­tia­tive in 1998 that was held in major cities and fea­tured thou­sands of read­ers from all walks of life includ­ing school chil­dren, busi­ness own­ers, civic lead­ers, teach­ers, col­lege stu­dents, spir­i­tual lead­ers, ranch­ers and media personalities.

Read­ers on April 5 (Willard Room) include: Monte Vista stu­dents Lily Rosano-Mueller and Arden Bur­kett, Eng­lish Chair Gail Hous­ton, Asso­ciate Dean Phillip Gan­der­ton, Escuela del Sol stu­dent Samiyah Dezbah James, National Dance Insti­tute Direc­tor Rus­sell Baker, Eng­lish Lec­turer Kyle Fiore, UNM Accoun­tant Misty Dawn Ortiz, Dr. Doris Fields, Librar­ian Maria Teresa Mar­quez, Poet Deme­tria Mar­tinez. Nov­el­ist and IAIA Pro­fes­sor Evalina Zuni Lucero.

Read­ers on April 19 (Waters Room) include SIPI Pres­i­dent Dr. Sherry Alli­son, Colum­nist David Stein­berg, UNM Pub­li­cist Car­olyn Gon­za­les, MFA stu­dents Adam Nunez and Natalie Scen­ters– Zapico, UNM Libraries Dean Martha Bedard, UNM Book­store Events Coor­di­na­tor Lani Tay­lor, West End Pub­lisher John Craw­ford, and Asso­ciate Dean Kevin Mal­loy and NM Cen­ten­nial Poet Levi Romero.

Tapa­honso, who pre­vi­ously orga­nized Favorite Poem projects in Lawrence, Kan. and Tuc­son, Ariz., said that the read­ings reveal the impor­tance of poetry in our per­sonal his­to­ries and how shar­ing poems can strengthen a community’s sense of cul­ture and place. “We often turn to poetry in moments of ela­tion, grat­i­tude, loss or fear, and this is a won­der­ful oppor­tu­nity to share with oth­ers the ways in which par­tic­u­lar poems speak to us,” Tapa­honso said.

At this year's conference, Luci Tapahonso is teaching a weeklong poetry workshop of which she says, "We will read poems, write in various poetic forms and most important of all, we will share our poetry in order to strengthen, and maybe discover, our poetic voices."

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