Subtexts

Hive mind

Bee Hive holds a Creative Writing Workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27; the Book Club for Grown-Ups is 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27. The store is located at 328 Montezuma Ave. 

Why Religion? A Personal Story, by Gnostic Gospels author Elaine Pagels, traces her experiences with love, motherhood, and death while attempting to answer a question she’s been asked repeatedly in her career: Why do you study and write about religion?

Whether you get your science fiction fix from literature or film, you can’t argue that the genre has been popular in those two mediums. But what about music? The centr…

Pen vendors galore and free calligraphy lessons for children and adults highlight the 23rd annual Santa Fe Pen Fair, which takes over the DeVargas Center Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. 

In the self-actualization culture of Santa Fe, discussions about seeking one’s inner bliss, true purpose, or other such psychological insights are as easy to find as a soy latte. There is also a plethora of memoirs and self-help books written by local seekers and seers who espouse the value of everything from certain kinds of diet and exercise to complete personal and spiritual transformations. Victoria Price has penned one such tome, The Way of Being Lost: A Road Trip to My Truest Self.

There is no shortage of black history books to read yearround, but three recently published tomes offer an intriguing array of subject matter that is perfect for February, officially designated Black History Month. 

Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015), was a writer and journalist from Uruguay, best known for his 1971 work, Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America), in which he analyzed the history of colonization of the Americas. Historian Estevan Rael-Galvez emcees a celebration of Galeano’s life and work on Thursday, Feb. 8, at Collected Works Bookstore.

In the vast and multifaceted world of poetry, “good” is subjective. The Anti-literary/Literary Poetry reading on Sunday, Jan. 14, takes on the issues of literary and critical standards and how they are important to poetry traditions but definitely structured by race- and class-based hierarchies in western culture.

A thriving community of Indigenous graphic novelists, writers, artists, and others working in pop-culture mediums come together for Indigenous Comic Con — billed as a haven for Native nerds from all over the world. And during Listening to the Natural World at the Randall Davey Audubon Center, participants can connect to language and the outdoors to enhance their efforts at personal expression.

Literary Jewels: Gems from America, Eastern Europe, and Israel, a new salon series from the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, gives lovers of story and history the opportunity to trace themes over the arc of time, from immigration in the late 19th century to the contemporary Jewish diaspora.

The former Santa Fe poet laureate, is known for his intellectually dense yet playful poems about the human condition — and also for writing and publishing poems under pseudonyms. He sometimes appears publicly in the guises of his alter-egos, but at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, Davis reads as himself from his new book.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, evenings of Irish poetry and culture are more than memories at Teatro Paraguas when Irish-American Writers & Artists hosts its first Southwestern salon, featuring poets from New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, and Missouri.

First Impressions: A Reader’s Journey to Iconic Places of the American Southwest, published by Yale University Press, is populated by ghosts. There are 16th-century Spanish explorers who rode horses into the region through New Spain. There are the indigenous Mexican people they conscripted to accompany them on their dangerous missions. And there is David J. Weber, the initial author of the book. 

Glenn Frankel captures the times in which the Western was made in 1951 in his 2017 book High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic (Bloomsbury USA). On Saturday, Sept. 9, he discusses the film at the Gerald Peters Gallery in a free event. 

Kristofic’s book is written for readers of all ages; the tales he tells could be read aloud to children, accessed by elementary-school readers looking for the challenge of chapter books, or savored by adults who will find themselves moved by the author’s skill in rendering talking animals believable and sympathetic. 

If you have grown weary of reading endless think pieces in the isolation of your own home, there is another option. Renesan Institute for Lifelong Learning offers a wealth of reasonably priced daytime classes.

Deena Metzger is a writer, activist, and healer in the 1960s radical and 1970s intellectual feminist traditions. Since childhood, her poetry has been deeply rooted in the natural world and the body. She reads from and signs copies of her latest novel at the Ark.

Champagne Sánchez could have been anything he wanted. He loved to learn and was a quick study as a boy. He enjoyed school, from science experiments to handwriting lessons, but life got the best of this Albuquerque barrio boy, the title character of The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sánchez, by Rudy J. Miera.

Lately it seems everyone is concerned about the state of the news media, tossing buzzwords around with abandon, among them “mainstream media,” “free press,” and “fake news.” Enter this intensely academic yet energetically written book, in which the author elucidates exactly what we mean when we say local media, and what we stand to lose if it disappears. 

The Chicken Ranch was a brothel in La Grange, Texas, that opened in 1905 and closed in 1973. It was tolerated by local law enforcement for decades because the women who worked there did not drink or get rowdy, and they were also happy to pass on tips about their customers’ criminal activities to the cops. Texas native Joy Jones has penned The Last Madam: A Legend of the Texas Chicken Ranch, from which she at Collected Works.

Two new books connected to New Mexico take on the concept of memory in divergent ways. Volver is a modestly lyrical and straightforward memoir of growing up in a family of Mexican immigrants in El Paso during and after World War II. The Slotted Spoon author Jennifer Faus spent the better part of two years on a road trip in the American Southwest, mainly in New Mexico national parks, gathering stories from people she met along the way. 

For poets, activism may entail finding ways to communicate an interior world in the context of one’s country of origin, filtering personal experience through a political sensibility, or making a direct call to action. Four activist poets from different cultures, each with stellar international-publication and performance credentials, offer a sampler of such diverse work in Worlds Through Words, a reading at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

City historian and author Ana Pacheco has put together a collection of archival photos of the city’s storied beginnings. The images, all of which include informational captions, were captured by both famous and largely forgotten photographers, some of whom made Santa Fe their home and others who were just passing through.

Santa Fe’s Red Mountain Press celebrates its 10-year anniversary in June with two literary events. The first, at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 4, is a poetry reading by Jeffrey Bean and Marc Hudson. And Journey Santa Fe hosts Red Mountain’s official anniversary celebration at Collected Works Bookstore at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 11, with readings from and a discussion of Ten Years on the Mountain, an anthology of poetry and prose from 25 Red Mountain authors. 

June 5 is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, or the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, fought between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, which resulted in Israel’s possession of the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Desert, and the Golan Heights. Marking the occasion is the publication of Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel, a memoir by New Mexico resident Iris Keltz, published by Nighthawk Press. 

Castillo’s Remains is a book-length poem made up of stanzas that the author began jotting down on index cards seven years ago. He reads from Remains on Friday, May 19, at No Land and is joined by Sonja Bjelic, whose poems have appeared in Mud City Journal and Petri Press, is at work on her first book.

Intrigue and mystery are on order this week at Collected Works Bookstore, with a slate of readings that feature murder, mayhem, and supernatural mischief. 

The wealthy, noble Sheremetev family owned approximately 200,000 serfs in 18th-century Russia, including Praskovia Kovalyova. At age eight, she began training with the opera company that her master, Count Peter Sheremetev, was putting together with his son, Nicholas. She became one of the most famous opera divas of her time — known as the Pearl — but it was still considered socially unacceptable for her to be romantically involved with Nicholas, the richest aristocrat in the country.

Santa Fe has its own form of celebrity culture, in which iconoclastic literary maestro Cormac McCarthy is welcomed as a respected scientific mind by the intellectual bigwigs at Santa Fe Institute, where he is a senior fellow. In his first nonfiction science-oriented essay, “The Kekulé Problem: Where Did Language Come From?” McCarthy aficionados can experience what it might be like to be in the room with McCarthy when he really gets rolling.

Mike Young is among a group of poets hosting a reading at Etiquette on Sunday, April 23. Other featured readers include Haydyn Marina Jackson, Marie Claire Bryant, Bineh Ndefru, and Ken Baumann.

Teatro Paraguas celebrates National Poetry Month by highlighting local presses and local writers. The first event, a reading by two Cuban poets on Saturday, April 8, at 6 p.m., addresses what some writers see as a literary disconnect between U.S. and Cuban poetry with two books published by Santa Fe’s Red Mountain Press.

“Poets have sought language that enabled them ... to navigate perilous times, whether the causes were corruption, war, national emergency, or just plain incompetence. How we deal as a citizenry with social and political upheaval can be referenced in the works of some of the world’s greatest word-slingers — who recognized a good national trauma when they saw one,” the local poet John Macker said.

The murder of Bugsy Siegel is a moment frozen in time — the famous Hollywood mobster, shot dead in his Los Angeles home, slumped over on a floral-patterned sofa. Not pictured in the crime-scene photos is his friend and associate Alan Smiley, who was sitting next to him when he was killed.

More than 30 sellers of antique books from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Missouri sell their wares at the fair. Many of the vendors specialize in old maps, art books, and Southwestern topics, including local history, the environment, the outdoors, Native Americans, cowboys, and photography, as well as signed first editions by beloved New Mexico authors and a wide variety of genre fiction.

In his newest book, Williams traces the footsteps of his great-great-great-grandfather, William Williams. To achieve a sense of spiritual connection to the land his Mormon family grew up on, Williams travels to England to make the journey to America all over again.

On Thursday, March 2, the state’s literary arts are celebrated at the first-ever New Mexico Writers Dinner. Part of the purpose of the evening is to raise money via a silent auction for a writing scholarship for a New Mexico student.

Her debut novel, The Freedom Broker (Quercus), is an old-fashioned black-ops thriller featuring Thea Paris, an elite kidnap and ransom negotiator who does not let her Type 1 diabetes get in the way of her work. The daughter of an oil magnate named Christos, Thea spent her childhood as an international jet-setter.

Pasatiempo receives dozens of books a month for possible review — more books than we could ever hope to read. This week's selection from the stacks of books that might otherwise be overlooked is Compromised by James R. Scarantino, in which a Santa Fe police detective exposes underage sex parties and a mobbed-up Southside business community while relying on a sketchy witness who wants to go underground but might be involved with the murder of a teenage girl.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m., Collected Works Bookstore launches a new social justice series with Resistance & Resilience: Demetria Martinez. Martinez, a poet and activist, discusses her writing and social justice work in honor of the Women’s March on Washington taking place that day.

In the uncertain political climate of the United States, many citizens fear that democratic ideals, such as free elections and freedom of speech, are at risk. Writers Resist (#writeourdemocracy) is a national movement of writers holding readings on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in an effort to focus public attention on what is at stake.

Final Act, local author Hal Simmons’ modern-day adventure novel, is based on an old account of the Lost Adams Diggings, an illusive gold mine located somewhere in western New Mexico or Arizona that has lured treasure hunters since the time of the Civil War. 

Molly, the young protagonist of The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree, has never understood why Santa Fe is considered desert until one dry December when her mother tells her they will not be able to afford a Christmas tree that year. When she notices that there are tumbleweeds blowing around town instead of snow, she suggests that they collect a few and decorate them instead.

In 1956, Allen Ginsberg shocked the literary world and law enforcement with the publication of “Howl,” a long-lined, sexually explicit cry against mainstream American culture. Also in 1956, the poet Mary Dezember, now a professor at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, took her first breath.

Take mallow — a “weed” that grows just about everywhere. Slattery invites us to use the young leaves in a salad, stir-fry, or soup — but judiciously, because they’re “slightly rough when raw or a bit slimy (for some) if used in excess in a cooked dish,” somewhat like its “cousin,” okra.

Douglas Atwill Houses (Boxwood Press) relates the stories of the 59 houses the author has owned over a 40-year period, most of them in Santa Fe. First the author, painter, and builder tells of his days working a Virginia farm with his life partner Pete Stewart, whom he met at La Fonda in 1964. In 1969, they sold the farm and idylled around France looking for a house to buy. Later that year, they moved to Santa Fe and spent the next six years building a series of houses on Canyon Road.

Nandita Dinesh is a faculty member at the United World College’s Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict in Montezuma, New Mexico, where her area of teaching and research is theater in war and conflict zones. She reads from her recent book Theatre and War in a free presentation at Teatro Paraguas Studios.

Many people who usually consider tarot cards, astrology, The I Ching, and other so-called New Age practices to be too “out there” for them wind up turning to these tools of mystical divination in times of crisis. Ark Books offers various books and talks on the subject.