Friday, April 29, 2011

Evan Lavender-Smith Reading Tonight with Mike Meginnis

It's the last reading of the semester. Don't miss it.

Friday, April 29, Hardman Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Prose writers Evan Lavender-Smith and Mike Meginnis

EVAN LAVENDER-SMITH is the author of Avatar (2011) and From Old Notebooks (2010). Stephen Burt has called From Old Notebooks "an anti-masterpiece of an anti-novel"; Charles Altieri has said of it, "Finally a conceptual art that is thoroughly literary." Evan is the editor of Noemi Press, the prose and drama editor of Puerto del Sol and a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at New Mexico State University.

Mike Meginnis is an MFA student at NMSU who will be reading from his recently completed novel told from the perspective of BOMBS!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thesis Awards

Our dear founder and beloved teacher, great writer and all around nice
guy, Kevin "Mc" McIlvoy has announced the winners of the Jacobs Thesis
Awards this year.

Poetry: LENT FROM STARS by Heather Frankland
These memorable poems present the testimonies of people who have
nourishment but cannot put hungering out of mind, who have safety but
are unsure they wish for it, who regard the transforming silences as
highly as the transacting instruments of language. I particularly
admire how the flow of thought in the poems progresses towards
judgment and certainty, but then is broken by moments of turning back
and turning deeper into the undertow of chaotic feeling. The result
is that each time I reread the poems, I feel my eyes, tongue, ears,
nose, skin have been brought closer to the sites of oblivion: that
algarroba tree (“Apology”), that creek bed (“You Are This Picture,
Cropped Out”), that crowded EL (“Intimacy”), that unexcavated city
(“Crushed Bouquets”), that carcass (“Always In Front of Them”). On the
haunting terrain of these poems, the reader is reminded that “we are
all hungry here / even the sky eats itself / every day at noon” (“Dry

Fiction: CLEARFORK by Erin Reardon
In every passage, these stories (“Grace” and “Clearfork”) expose the
quiet fears – of the body’s riddles, of the heart’s resistances to
trust – arising in familial relationships. I find genuine wisdom in
these sensitive portrayals of the human comedy. The scenes presenting
father and mother and stepmother offer extraordinary fullness; they
make us feel intimately present for the crucial moments in which no
resolution will occur, no consolation will arrive. What has laid claim
to us will not let us go: the author of Clearfork invites us to
experience the dark magic of that human mystery. I particularly admire
the moments in these stories that lift us into wonder, as when the
character Margaret (in “Grace”) imagines her unborn children: “Human
babies never spilled from her womb in these half-conscious imaginings;
they were always feline, uncurling in her arms, their downy fur slick
with her own insides, mewling. She would lift them to her chest and
lick them clean with her own long sandy tongue, would feel their
shapes in her mouth, their angular skulls and pointed ears. Her
children had pelts of gold, of the deepest black, of amber. In the
morning she would wake with their taste on her tongue…” There are many
moments like it in Clearfork, a complex work of exceptional clarity
and depth.

Mc writes: "this continued participation in the program means the
world to me: please convey to everyone there how grateful I am for the
honor of reading the MFA theses."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Note from Kevin Honold, former MFA student

Hello to all my friends and teachers at New Mexico State University, and to those I’ll meet when I return there in Fall, 2012. I am serving a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Altai, western Mongolia. It is a high desert town surrounded by rocky brown mountains, so arriving here last August was in some ways like taking US 70 into Las Cruces. It felt weirdly familiar. It is a beautiful place, and the people of Altai are very kind and generous people. From the school and community where I received so much friendship and support, I’d like to ask a favor…

Holy Mount Monastery Complex Renovation Project
My co-worker in Altai is D. Enkhtsetseg. She is the Foreign Language Methodologist for Russian and English teachers in Gobi-Altai Province. She is the mother of three children who attend school here, and she wants to do something meaningful for her community, and so she has asked me to help her to contribute to a tree-planting project at the monastery here. The word ‘desertification’ does not make a compelling headline, but it is a vast and growing problem that affects the health and livelihoods of millions, as well as the health of the planet. It occurs when over-grazing and over-cultivating loosen and dry the soil, which is then blown away by the wind. There is no longer soil to retain groundwater, and so water becomes surface runoff and rivers dry up. In the past 50 years, 500-700 rivers in Mongolia have disappeared. The town I live in is surrounded by dry riverbeds. Mongolia sits at the center of a crisis. Deforestation is a major cause of desertification, and here in Mongolia, reforestation projects only cover a small percentage of the area lost annually.
Our project has recently been approved by Peace Corps. You can go to this site, search my last name (Honold), read a summary of the project, and contribute anonymously, any amount you like:
“If you plant a tree, you earn merit in this life. If you plant two trees, you earn merit in the next.” It’s a Buddhist proverb, but the trees don’t care if you’re not Buddhist. If you’re willing to take Pascal’s wager, that’s not a bad deal.
The trees will be planted at the Holy Mount Monastery Complex, which shares the site of the Gobi-Altai Province 70th Anniversary Memorial.
It is a place of civic pride and religious importance. N. Enkhjargal, the head lama of the monastery, last year submitted a plan to the Gobi-Altai Provincial government, and received a commitment by the governor to pay 25% of the costs. His plan involves renovation of the monastery building and the planting of hundreds of trees. Our part of the project involves the planting of 500 more trees on 1.5 hectares of the complex grounds; the planting of flower beds and native grasses; the construction of a pipe and a reservoir to carry water from a nearby spring to the seedlings and saplings; and a modest sign commemorating American-Mongolian cooperation in the project.
The project will involve S. Gantuya’s Red Cross student volunteers, from Altai School #3, and D. Orgilmaa’s graduating students from School #1. Involving these young people (the future leaders and decision makers of Mongolia) is crucial to fostering the new awareness called for by the Mongolian government and by the UN. Right now, ‘awareness’ is all Mongolia can afford. It is a young democracy (1991), and a poor country.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Benefit for Sylvia

Last Saturday's benefit for MFA graduate poet (and current Onate High School English teacher) Tim Staley's baby was a huge success! Bands played; poets read; food, face-painting and art was sold to the more than willing. Sylvia's mom Suzanne even played bass with her band for part of the night. Over $10,000 was raised to help with Sylvia's liver transplant, which should happen any day now, since she is at the top of the list. Thanks to all who helped. This is one great town.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Carmen Giménez Smith wins fellowship from Howard Foundation

Professor Carmen Giménez Smith has been awarded a fellowship from the prestigious Howard Foundation of Brown University. The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation was established in 1952 to further the personal development of promising individuals at the crucial middle stages of their careers in the liberal and creative arts.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


to poetry graduate student Robert Rome who wrote an essay for his nonfiction class with Rus called, "Night of the Green Mango Donkey Fucker--A Collage of Whips." This essay won Honorable Mention in AWP's Intro Journals Project. Congrats to Robert.