Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reading Series 2013

NMSU's Nelson/Boswell Distinguished Writers Series this year features all graduates of our program who have gone to publish books, edit magazines and presses, and labor in the fields of literature. For the season finale, author David Shields (not an NMSU graduate) will be reading from his new book, How Literature Saved My Life. Faculty members Carmen Smith and Rus Bradburd also will read from their new books. Smith from Goodbye, Flicker, on September 7th, and Bradburd from Make It, Take It on February 15th. All readings feature a graduate student reader and begin at 7:30 in 106 Hardman Hall unless otherwise indicated.

Darlin Neal September 28th

Darlin’ Neal is a native New Mexican and author of the story collections Elegant Punk (Press 53, 2012) and Rattlesnakes & The Moon (Press 53, 2010). She is the 2011 winner of DH Lawrence Fellowship from the Taos Summer Writers Conference, their highest honor. Her short stories, essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies, including The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Eleven Eleven, The Mississippi Review, Puerto del Sol, and Best Of The Web. Neal is a Mississippi Arts Commission awardee in the Literary Arts, and a winner of the Henfield Prize. As a graduate student at NMSU, she was a Frank Waters Fiction Fellowship recipient. Her first collection, Rattlesnakes & The Moon, was nominated for numerous awards including The Story Prize and The Pen Faulkner Award. Her short stories and nonfiction have been nominated over a dozen times for the Pushcart Prize. She serves as faculty advisor for The University of Central Florida’s award winning undergraduate literary magazine The Cypress Dome, and for The Writers In The Sun Reading Series for which she brings in writers of national caliber each semester. She is Fiction Editor of The Florida Review.

Richard Yañez--October 18th

Richard Yañez was born and raised on the U.S.-Mexico border. He is the author of Cross Over
Water: A Novel and El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border, both published by the University
of Nevada Press. Named a 2012 Top Ten “New Latino Author” by Latino Stories, both books
were cited as “Notable Books” by Southwest Books of the Year. El Paso del Norte was a finalist
for the Steven Turner Book Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and Cross Over Water
is a finalist for a ForeWord Book of the Year Award (multicultural fiction) and an International
Latino Book Award (Best Novel-adventure/drama in English).
His stories and essays are anthologized in Mirrors Beneath The Earth: Short Fiction by Chicano Writers, Our Working Lives: Stories of People and Work, Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of
Texas Mexican Literature, Literary El Paso, U.S. Latino Literature Today, and New Border.
Gary Soto selected his story, “Sacred Heart,” for the Chicano Chapbook Series.
He has served as editor for Puerto del Sol, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review,
BorderSenses, Momotombo Press, and the Writer’s Chronicle. His service work includes
contributions to the Border Book Festival, Con Tinta: A Chicano/Latino Writers’ Collective, El
Paso Literary Fiesta, and RIPPLES Literary/Cultural Series.
A graduate of New Mexico State University and Arizona State University, he earned a Riley
Scholar Fellowship from Colorado College and a Center for InterCultural Leadership Fellowship
from Saint Mary’s College (IN). Currently, he is an associate professor of English at El Paso
Community College, where he received the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award and a state
teaching award from The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.
He lives in El Paso with his wife, Chicana writer Carolina Monsiváis, and their son.

Patrick Donnelley October 18th

Patrick Donnelley is a native New Mexican and the author of The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003, since 2009 part of Copper Canyon Press) and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012). Donnelly is director of the Advanced Seminar, one of three summer programs at The Frost Place, a poetry conference center at Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH. He is an associate editor of Poetry International, a contributing editor of Trans-Portal (, has taught writing at Colby College, the Lesley University MFA Program, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. In the 2012-2013 academic year he will teach a semester each at Smith College and George Washington University. He was Thornton writer-in-residence at Lynchburg College in 2006, is a 2008 recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is a member of the Massachusetts Poetry Outreach Project Advisory Board. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, and has been anthologized in the Four Way Reader #2, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the 18th Century to the Present, and elsewhere. From the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, he received a scholarship in 2003 and a fellowship in 2004, and grants from the PEN Fund for Writers in 2000 and 2001. With Stephen D. Miller, Donnelly is co-translator of the Japanese poems in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period, a scholarly history and analysis forthcoming from Cornell East Asia Series in fall 2012. Donnelly and Miller’s translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Bateau, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Circumference,, eXchanges, Inquiring Mind, Kyoto Journal, Mead, Metamorphoses, New Plains Review, Noon: The Journal of the Short Poem, Poetry International and Like Clouds or Mists: Studies and Translations of Nō Plays of the Genpei War. Donnelly, in previous years, has performed as an actor and opera singer, worked as a professional chef and food writer, helped to coordinate a meal program for people with AIDS, cancer and heart disease, and taught health-supportive cooking and eating to senior citizens and people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. His spiritual curiosity has led him, at different times, to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood and to live as a Buddhist and a Muslim. Website:

Krystal Languel November 5th

Krystal Languell is the author of the poetry collection Call the Catastrophists (BlazeVox, 2011), the poems of which began as her MFA thesis at New Mexico State University. Her poems have appeared in Barn Owl Review, DIAGRAM, esque and elsewhere, and her reviews and interviews have been published online at NewPages and Coldfront. Founder of the feminist literary journal Bone Bouquet, she is part of the Belladonna Collaborative in Brooklyn and teaches writing at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Pratt Institute.

Andrew Scott November 30th

Andrew Scott is the author of Naked Summer, a story collection, and the editor of a forthcoming anthology, 24 Bar Blues: Two Dozen Tales of Bars, Booze, and the Blues. He holds writing degrees from Purdue University and New Mexico State University, where he was twice awarded a Frank Waters Fiction Fellowship. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in EsquireNinth LetterThe Cincinnati ReviewMid-American ReviewGlimmer Train StoriesThe Writer’s Chronicle, and other publications, and have been awarded grants from the state of Indiana and Ball State University, where he teaches. With his wife, writer Victoria Barrett, he edits Freight Stories, an online fiction journal. He lives in Indianapolis.

Carrie Murphy January 18th

Carrie Murphy is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, PRETTY TILT (Keyhole Press, 2012) and a chapbook, MEET THE LAVENDERS (Birds of Lace, 2011). She received her MFA from New Mexico State University and her BA from the University of Maryland. Her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, JMWW, PANK, and other journals and has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. An essay was chosen as an Editor's Choice for Best of the Net 2011. Murphy also leads workshops at Washington D.C. area conferences on post-confessional poetry. She is also an active food writer on the web.

Valerie Fioravanti February 1st

The stories in Valerie Fioravanti’s Garbage Night at the Opera are grouped around an extended Italian-American family sharing one apartment building in Brooklyn as their neighborhood experiences a swift and financially devastating deindustrialization. The collection examines the consequences the loss of factory jobs has on individual, family, and community life. The stories move forward in time and across generations as the neighborhood rapidly deteriorates, languishes for a generation, then gentrifies.

Garbage Night at the Opera won the 2011 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction and is forthcoming from BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City) in October 2012. Garbage Night at the Opera was also a two-time finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award. Stories from the collection have received four Pushcart Prize and one Million Writers Award nominations. These stories have appeared in North American Review, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain, Night Train, and other literary journalsThe title story, “Garbage Night at the Opera,” was awarded Special Mention in Pushcart Prize XXVIII, and has been anthologized twice more. A first-generation college student, Valerie received a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy to work on her novel-in-progress, Bel Casino, and won both the Fiction & Poetry Prizes as an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University.

Valerie also writes poems and essays. Her first published poem, “Letter Ghost,” received a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her essays and poems have appeared in Eclectica, Silk Road, Jelly Bucket, and other literary journals. Valerie teaches for the UCLA Writers Program online and lives in Sacramento, where she promotes the work of other writers via the Stories on Stage reading series.

John Chávez March 15th

John Chávez grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and spent a significant amount of time in southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, the inspiration for his early poetry. He received his bachelors degree in Creative Writing from Colorado State University, and later received his Master of Arts at Central Michigan University and Master of Fine Arts at New Mexico State. He completed his Doctorate degree in Poetry under the supervision of Hilda Raz. At the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Chávez served as an editorial assistant for Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry," a syndicated newspaper column publishing contemporary poetry nationwide, and as one of two Senior Poetry Readers for Prairie Schooner. Awarded a month-long residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, Chávez was the Letras Latinas Residency Fellow, cosponsored by the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Conduit, Portland Review, Puerto del Sol, Grist: The Journal for Writers, The Laurel Review, Palabra, Great River Review, Diode and Copper Nickel among others. He is the author of the chapbook Heterotopia, published by Noemi Press in 2004, and co-author of the chapbook I,NE: Iterations of the Junco, published by Small Fires Press in 2009. His first full-length poetry collection, City of Slow Dissolve, will be released fall 2012 by University of New Mexico Press.

Joey Nicoletti April 5th

Joey Nicoletti is the author of three poetry collections: Borrowed Dust, Earthquake Weather (NightBallet Press, 2012), and Cannoli Gangster, which was selected as a finalist for the Steel Toe Books Poetry Prize by Denise Duhamel (Word Tech, September 2012). His poems, reviews, and nonfiction essays have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Italian Americana, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Waccamaw, Aethlon, Gradiva: International Journal of Italian Poetry, Tulane Review, PIF, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Bitter Oleander, Stymie Magazine, and The City of Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry. A short film, "Blue Train,” based on his poem of the same name, will be screened with five other short films inspired by poems from the new anthology Token Entry: Poems of the New York City Subway later this year as part of Jack Feldstein’s Subway Series. A graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College MFA program, the University of Iowa, and New Mexico State University, he is a former poetry editor of Puerto del Sol and currently teaches creative writing and English literature at Niagara University.

David Shields April 19th

David Shields is the author of thirteen books, the most recent being How Literature Saved My Life, forthcoming in February 2013 by Knopf. His other books include Jeff, One Lonely Guy, which was co-written by Jeff Ragsdale and Michael Logan (forthcoming from Amazon Publishing NYC on March 20, 2012); Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (Knopf, 2010), named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications; The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead (Knopf, 2008), a New York Times bestseller; Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity, winner of the PEN/Revson Award; and Dead Languages: A Novel, winner of the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire,Yale Review, Village Voice, Salon, Slate, McSweeney’s, and Utne Reader; he’s written reviews for the New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.

Winners of the Graduate Creative Writing Awards


The Frank Waters Award in Fiction was judged by writer Darlin’ Neal, who read here earlier this semester.

First Prize: Emily Haymans, "Tagalongs"

Judge’s Citation: This story is so felt.  There is so much longing. I
feel with the narrator and her beautiful observations.  This writer
made such lovely intuitive movements from scene to scene.  I will
remember this character and the place she lives.  I will remember her
missing Gimby because I shared that longing as I read along.

Second Prize: Barry Pearce, "Accidents"  

Judge’s Citation: What a marvel this writer has created: a character
who is willing the action of the story even as he feigns
unconsciousness on a hospital bed.  I thought the story's movement
came full circle.  I was so very touched by Izzy's plight.  I felt
bonded with him somehow.  I wanted, with him, for his father to reach
out.  I like this story.  I also think the writer should write this
novel.  I'd read it.

Third Prize: Paul French, "Nod"  

Judge’s Citation: Such fine dialogue and sense of place in this piece.  This
writer has a fine gut for action indeed.  Travis isn't someone I'd
think I'd care about but the keen attention to his visceral
experience, the keen attention and immersion in his sadness and the
way he himself is trapped by his own wayward path, well, all of those
things made me care.

Oh, and then the hard, hard decisions of what not to choose for final
three!  But here is a list of honorable mentions and I'm happy to give
feedback if the students would like it.

Honorable Mention

"Dinesh In Switzerland" – Gautam Emani

"Black Mirror" – Sessily Watt

"A Homecoming" – Philip Johnson

"Parallel Parking" – Christopher Rosenbluth

The Keith Wilson/Joe Somoza Poetry Prize was judged by poet John Chavez, who will read at NMSU in the spring semester of 2013.

First Place – Jacqueline Wang
“Willow Sisters,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: Attuned to the evocations of sight and sound, it is in “St. Anthony’s Fire” we readers feel addressed: “For you, I floated my glowing foot down the river to where you stood.” It’s into this space, the physical and psychic landscapes of this collection of poems, that we’re invited and asked to embrace the persona’s honesty.  With this in mind, we witness the “unwritten book” being intensely imagined and written, and as we do we become aware of the engagingly distinctive character of this poet’s craft.

Second Place – Laura Terry
“Alligator Alley,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: With the kind of tone that would make any southern musician proud, this collection of poems is an occasion for movement to happen, to Everglades City to the Micosukee Reservation and elsewhere, but in our travels were let into the stories that populate this persona(e)’s life and lives. And what jumps, though very different in location and point of view, is what the “ocotillo” and “yucca” tell us: this is a poet engaged with the world, neither separate from the world, nor recluse, simply in it and taking measure of every note.

Third Place – Robert Houghton
“for the impossible. Latent voyeurism on the peek. A ghost,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: This collection of poetry dares to make a world contingent upon the disjunctive for its oddness, and yet cohesiveness for its familiarity, and it does so to allow the reader to enter, to feel decentered but centered enough to live among the details. How then to square the seeming disparity? Experience the poems as they are meant, as Lowell reminds, to be experienced. Bring oneself to the language and let go.

The Ruth Scott Academy of American Poets Prize was also judged by John Chavez.

Winner – Nathan Taylor
“New Skin”

Judge’s Citation: I found myself with my ear close to these poems, listening to their music, engaging with their meditations, and in so doing I sat “deep as I” could “in the soul’s deep valley” as well. As each accumulating detailed unfolded I felt pulled into the poems and understood this is a poet who wants readers to feel “a small voice that licks / around the moon of / the ear” but only because the intimacy of poetry can set one on a path, as these poems are indicative, of personal inquiry.

Congratulations again to everyone!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Winners of the Jacobs Prize Announced

Adam Crittenden, MFA Creative Writing (Poetry) '12

Melanie Sweeney Bowen, MFA Creative Writing (Fiction) '12

The winners of the 2012 Jacobs Prize are

For Poetry: 

Empire Mind 
by Adam Crittenden

For Fiction: 
People We Will Let in the Fortress 
by Melanie Sweeney Bowen

Kevin McIlvoy was the judge. Below are his comments on these outstanding manuscripts:

People We Will Let in the Fortress by Melanie Sweeney Bowen

In these extraordinary pages from a linked book of stories, the author utterly transports the reader into the protagonist’s processes of conscience.  Fiction only rarely goes this distance in portraying how far inward a person must travel to truly feel the very ground of her heart, how far outward to recognize the figure of another’s ways of being.  These are short stories but they have novelistic scale, and it is particularly exciting to know that they are part of a large project reaching deeply into the mysteries of forgiveness and self-forgiveness, of losing trust and regaining it, of deliberately holding back the secret self and of offering it with impulsive loving compassion. The reader cannot hold back from rereading the wise and evocative passages of the two stories, “Earth to Nashville” and “People We Will Let in the Fortress.”  Here is one example (from “People We Will Let in the Fortress”) of how this masterful storyteller invites the reader to intimately experience the clear and confounding psychological crises of the characters: 

If there was anything she knew with certainty in this world, it was that the bad things never came on when you expected them, but rather when you couldn’t possibly have prepared. They felt deeply personal, yet at the same time reminded you of your irrelevance, how utterly random your brushes with loss and pain. Unlike her, she knew Oliver believed everything happened to him. Nothing felt irrelevant. In some ways, this perspective could make things easier; you could always wind your way back to some choice, some slip that set everything else in motion, and bypass the why-me questioning that plagued others. But it also made the world quite lonely, even cruel. If everything originated in some personal action or desire, then there was no escaping yourself. 

There is no doubt: People We Will Let in the Fortress will be a great book.

Empire Mind 
by Adam Crittenden

The poems in Empire Mind are tolling poems: from a steely distance they toll warning; from a dreamlike condition, they toll nightmare; from a creepy sense of the comic, they toll pain.  They call to mind Stephen Dunn’s “Loves” in which the ‘loving’ speaker of the poem invokes “church bells ringing stasis, stasis.” There is an out-of-body voice in these disturbing contemplations of this “garbage island,” of this ‘machine kingdom’ that is our violated planet.  The testament of the poems is of individuals and groups who have been shocked past responsiveness and reaction, have been buried alive and must speak to themselves from within the festering heap, from within the crusher (“Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, and Close the Lid”).  Reading “Temporal,” one feels the despair of the speaker who has been made mute by the torpor of the earth’s human population and has also become addicted to it: “If we study the past, then / we can better destroy each other / in the present.”  In the terrifying poem “The Machine Machine” the reader is given the facts by a speaker calculating the absurd “position” one might acquire in this doomed kingdom: “The Machine Machine is a machine / that eats maggots like me for lunch, / not breakfast. Breakfast maggots are different. // Those maggots are maggots / that wish they could trade in their animal cells / for a few good circuits.”   

The writer of Empire Mind has not flinched; in each poem, the result is a powerful fullness of horror. 

Thanks to all of you who submitted this year--it was a very competitive pool. And our thanks to Kevin McIlvoy for his efforts in supporting the endowment and carefully reading and considering the submissions. The winners will receive $500 each for the award. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another Semester of Exciting Readings Ends

We thank everyone-- our readers, our graduating MFA students, our audiences, and the La Soc staff, for a fantastic year of readings. Below are images from the last three reading events. 

Poet Jon Davis read on April 13, 2012.  He is the author of three chapbooks and three full-length collections of poetry. The Bloomsbury Reviewsaid of his collection Preliminary Report: "This is one of the best books of poetry to appear this year." He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a Lannan Literary Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of America Poets. For the past twenty years, he has been a professor of Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jon Davis becomes his alter ego on stage: Chuck Calabrese.

Camille Acker, MFA (Fiction) '12, reading on April 13.
Kit McIlroy read on April 20, 2012. He is the author of a short story collection All My Relations, winner of the 1994 Flannery O'Connor Award, and his stories have been anthologized widely, including in the Best American Short Stories series. He has served on the Arizona Commission on the Arts since 1979, and in 1986, he co-founded ArtsReach, which brings writing programs to Native American communities in southern Arizona. He is also the author of Here I Am A Writer, a book that grew out of that experience, featuring ten of his former students, their writings, and life stories based on interviews. He conducted a training session with students in NMSU's school outreach program the following day, Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Chris Schacht, MFA (Fiction) '12, reading on April 20.
Blake Butler is the author of the novel There Is No Year, the novella Ever, and the novel-in-stories Scorch Atlas. He edits “the internet literature magazine blog of the future” HTMLGiant, as well as two journals of innovative text, Lamination Colony and No Colony. He lives in Atlanta. He read on April 27, 2012. 

Anna Pattison, MFA (Fiction) '12, reads on April 27, 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Poetry Faculty Carmen Giménez Smith Publishes New Award Winning Book

Poetry Faculty Carmen Giménez Smith Publishes New Book, Goodbye, Flicker, Winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry

This distinctive collection introduces a new type of mythmaking, daring in its marriage of fairy tale tropes with American mundanities. Conspiratorial, Goodbye, Flicker describes the interior life of a girl whose prince is a deadbeat dad and whose escape into a fantasy world is also an escape into language, beauty, and the surreal.

 “Carmen Giménez Smith’s Goodbye, Flicker takes on poetry, family, myth, fairy tale, memory, love, history, and our plain ordinary human stories. Magic and invention are taken for granted. Cómo se dice is what all poems say. Giménez Smith happens to say so with deliverance and desire that can break into anyone’s heart."—Dara Wier, author of Selected Poems and Reverse Rapture

“It's as if Giménez Smith threw a stone called 'girl' into the pond of psyche—a psyche both personal and collective—and these are the ripples.  The archetypal and the daily—its engine of class, race and gender—come fully forward in this terrific book, where lyric and narrative modes play, where 'Tale is a world / of condition, where every She seeks to change her story.”Dana Levin, author of In the Surgical Theater and Sky Burial

Friday, April 27, 2012

Graduate Student Awards in Creative Writing

Congratulations to Megan Wong, MFA '12, who won the Harris-Kunz Award for her outstanding poetry thesis.  Megan had tough competition from her fellow poets this year, and we congratulate all of them on their recent successful defenses and upcoming graduation. 

Congratulations to Kelsie Hahn, MFA '13, who won the Kevin McIlvoy Endowed Fellowship Award, which is awarded to a second-year MFA graduate student for excellence in service to the creative writing program. Kelsie's involvement as an editor of Puerto del Sol and as a participant in the WITS program were just a few of the reasons faculty chose her.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Carrie Murphy (MFA '11) Publishes First Full-Length Book

We're thrilled to announce Carrie Murphy, MFA '11, has published her first full-length book, Pretty Tilt, with Keyhole PressWe couldn't be more proud of her. For more information about purchasing the book, go here.  Her chapbook, Meet the Lavenders, appeared in 2011 from Birds of Lace.  She currently works as a teacher and freelance writer.  She will be doing a number of readings in support of Pretty Tilt:

  • Fri. April 13 (xtra spooky!), Brooklyn, NY at The Mustard Beak w/Gina Abelkop, Niina Pollari, Rohin Guha and Jason Helm, 7.30pm

  • Sun. April 15, Washington, DC- Three Tents Reading Series w/Gina Abelkop, Eugene Cross and Joe Hall

  • Mon. April 16, Durham, NC- Finger & Thumb inaugural reading w/Kate Zambreno and Gina Abelkop @ The Pinhook, 6.30pm

Here are the blurbs for the book: 

Carrie Murphy writes the ambiguous and ambivalent viscera beneath the surface of the pretty girl in her “tragic dresses,” quoting the canon of girlhood - Clueless and Tori Amos and Dirty Dancing and Disney and My Little Pony. "The tools I used/to write myself a girl." Her girls are gooshy and oozey and bleeding and bothered and wanting and horny as hell, like craven and craving Molly Blooms.  Like if the Lisbon sisters grew up in the nineties and were not projections but desirous, desiring of the icky, beautiful boys, writing of crusted panties and the phenomenology of the blow job or wanting to fuck a 15-year-old Prince William at his mother’s funeral. “All we have in common is our colossal boredom.”  These poems are hilarious, joyful, dirty, deeply felt, fucked, totally inappropriate, gorgeous. --Kate Zambreno, author of Green Girl and Heroines
In Carrie Murphy’s dazzling poem “Mirrorball,” there is the realized tautology that “To be luminous is to acquiesce, to acquiesce is to be luminous.” It would be tempting to classify the spinning surface delights of this book into the categories of the girlish, the sex kitten, the raunchy, or the princess, but then the rigorous self-awareness of these poems would be ignored. Unappeasable, disastrous carnal appetite loudly proclaims itself from behind a myriad of masks, but when the tender self finally “unbraids,” it blinds everyone who sees it. Pretty Tilt is a radiant debut.  --Richard Greenfield, author of A Carnage in the Lovetrees and Tracer
Pretty Tilt is an utterly engaging love letter to the incandescent moments that, when threaded together, represent girlhood--young women on the cusp of something just beyond themselves, reaching, fumbling, falling, in sometimes glorious, sometimes garish, but always beautifully rendered, unflinching ways.--Roxane Gay, author of Ayiti

Carrie Murphy’s Pretty Tilt aches my body like the Sweetarts she invokes in the first devastating poem of the book. Every girl inside its pages is full to bursting like an ulcer waiting to wreak its havoc, your stomach made a tender, loving carapace for them despite their reckless living. Each bong hit, backseat fuck and curious touch splits me open with a desire to reach inside the page and stroke each girl’s dirty, sweaty head. Pretty Tilt is full of a love, ferocity and skill of creation that will stun you like an accidental football to the face in gym class.--Gina Abelkop, author of Darling Beastlettes

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Camilo Roldán's Translation of Amílkar U.

Camilo Roldán, who graduated with a BA in English and Spanish from New Mexico State University, has published a chapbook-length translation of Colombian poet Amílkar U., (pen name of Amílcar Osorio) with These Signals Press. For more information, go to

Friday, March 16, 2012

LOLA Italy Writing Residence Fellowships for 2012 Announced

The 2012 LOLA Italy Residence Fellowships have been awarded to the following NMSU MFA candidates:

Sessily Watt is most recently from Chicago, IL, where she spent three years working with a small group of dedicated writers before deciding to study writing in an academic setting. She is in her second semester in the MFA program at NMSU.

Angela Simental is an MA student focusing on fiction. She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2008.

Floydd Michael Elliott is originally from Portland, OR, and is currently working on his MFA (with an emphasis in Creative Writing: Poetry) here at NMSU. He’s a father, husband, poet, writer, teacher, and student coordinator for La Sociedad Para Las Artes – the English department’s community outreach program.  His work has appeared in Sin Frontiers/Writer’s Without Borders and DIN.  

For more information about the residency, visit:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recent Creative Writing Events at NMSU

On February 10, Robert Snyderman presented "The Storm Is Not Outside Us: A Seminar on Spirit and Nomadism in Besmilr Brigham's Poetry"

Besmilr Moore Brigham was an award-winning poet and short-story writer who lived in Arkansas for decades. She came to prominence during the women’s movement of the 1960s, and her work is noted for its innovative structure, sound, and rhythm.  Her writing was experimental, often seeming to migrate across the page in the same way Brigham and her husband liked to migrate in life. She employed erratic, though purposeful, punctuation, which produced a rhythm instead of following the rules of grammar. In the 1950s she studied with poet Robert Duncan and at the New School for Social Research. In 1970, Brigham received a Discovery Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The accompanying NEA grant led to a collection of her work, Heaved from the Earth, which was published by Knopf in 1971. Brigham’s poems had been published in New Directions, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. She also published short stories, including, “The Lottery Drawing,” in the anthology Mississippi Writers: Reflections of Childhood and Youth. After a flurry of publishing in the 1960s and 1970s, Brigham dropped from the eyes of the publishing world and lived in relative obscurity.  In 1993, Brigham was rediscovered by C. D. Wright for Wright’s Lost Roads Project and was included in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting documentary United States of Poetry, which included Brigham and her son-in-law, poet Keith Wilson. Wright described Brigham and her husband as “the last free people. They hadn’t been broken by the life they had chosen, which was itinerant and subsistent. They treated their life like an adventure and her work like a staple, like beans.”  A posthumous compilation of her work, Run through Rock, was selected and edited by Wright,  who published it through her imprint, Lost Roads Press. (Source: )

For his presentation, Robert Snyderman, a poet completing graduate studies at Brown University, has put together 17 poems published in journals and magazines in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Students from the MFA program at NMSU will read these poems aloud and will participate in an open discussion of the work. Heloise Wilson, daughter of Besmilr Brigham and a resident of Las Cruces, will also participate. If you are interested in reading poems aloud, please contact Megan Wong at

On February 15, Dot Devota, Brandon Shimoda, and Zachary Schomburg read in the HSS Annex Auditorium.

DOT DEVOTA is from a family of ranchers and rodeo stars. She is the author of The Eternal Wall (Cannibal Books), MW: A Midwest Field Guide (Editions 19\), and Scenes From My Massacre (Urgent Series). Her poems can also be found in Action Yes, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, jubilat, Muthafucka, VOLT and in Old Franklin, Missouri. 

ZACHARY SCHOMBURG is the author of Fjords Volume 1 (Black Ocean, 2012), Scary, No Scary (Black Ocean 2009), and The Man Suit (Black Ocean 2007), as well as several small press chapbooks. His The Book of Joshua will be published by McSweeney's in 2013. With Mathias Svalina, he co-edits Octopus Magazine and Books. 

BRANDON SHIMODA is the author of O Bon (Litmus Press, 2011), The Girl Without Arms (Black Ocean, 2011), and The Alps (Flim Forum, 2008)—among other solo and collaborative works of various sizes and shapes. He was born in California, has lived most recently in Missouri, Maine and Taiwan, though currently lives in Arizona.

On February 24, poet Joni Wallace read in Hardman Hall as part of the La Sociedad para las Artes. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Joshua Edwards Reading with MFA Candidate Phil Hurst

Pictures from our wonderful reading with Joshua Edwards and Phil Hurst on Friday, February 3, 2012.

Joshua Edwards directs and co-edits Canarium Books. His translation of María Baranda's Ficticia was published in September 2010 by Shearsman Books, and his first book, Campeche, was published by Noemi Press. He was recently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and from October 2012 until October 2013 he'll be a fellow in residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.

Phil Hurst, MFA Candidate in Fiction