IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Local Poets, Politicians, Professors Celebrate National Poetry Month

Santa Fe, NM | Apr 2, 2013 –

Local poets, politicians, business owners, and students and professors from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) will celebrate National Poetry Month with free Friday readings during April.

The My Favorite Poem project, directed by award-winning poet and University of New Mexico professor Luci Tapahonso, invites community members to share their favorite works of poetry by other authors. The readings, hosted by UNM’s English Department and IAIA’s College of Contemporary Native Arts, will alternate between campuses. IAIA will have its readings April 12 and April 26. UNM will host readings by its local community members April 5 and April 16. For a listing of UNM readers and more information about the Albuquerque event, click here.

The project is based on former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s 1998 initiative that featured thousands of readers from all walks of life, including business owners, civic leaders, college students, media personalities, ranchers, teachers, school children and spiritual leaders.

Tapahonso, who previous organized My Favorite Poem projects in Lawrence, Kan., and Tucson, Ariz., says 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,” she said.

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.”

Santa Fe poetry readers include:

  • Byron Aspaas and Sasha LaPointe, IAIA students
  • Artists Tony Abeyta and Mateo Romero
  • Mark Bahti, business owner, Bahti Indian Arts
  • Bette Booth, Santa Fe Green Lodging Initiative coordinator
  • Santa Fe Mayor David Coss
  • Santa Fe Poet Laureate and IAIA Creative Writing Faculty Jon Davis
  • Daniel Gibson, Native Peoples Magazine editor and New Mexican columnist
  • Ann Filemyr, IAIA College of Contemporary Native Arts Dean and poet
  • Roberta Joe, Santa Fe Assistant County Attorney
  • Michael Lopez, U.S. Senator Tom Udall field representative
  • IAIA President Robert Martin
  • Michael McGarrity, novelist
  • Liz Stefanics, Santa Fe County Commissioner
  • James Thomas Stevens, IAIA Creative Writing core faculty and poet
  • Artists Char Teters, Laura Fragua-Cota and Emmi Whitehorse
  • Connie Tsosie-Gaussoin, artist and designer
  • Natalia Valles, Wood-Gormley Elementary student

All readings begin at 6 p.m. in IAIA’s Center for Lifelong Learning. A reception will follow. For a full listing of poetry readers and the dates they will read click here.

Contact Information

Kim Baca, 505-424-2351 or kbaca@iaia.edu