This Is Now

s-l1000The night of Nov. 15 found many of Santa Fe’s citizens in the lobby of the Armory of the Arts theater, queueing up to purchase copies of Margaret Randall’s latest book, Only the Road / Solo El Camino, which covers 80 years of Cuban poetry. The books disappeared quickly from the table, prompting many people in attendance to purchase their copies before the event began. Inside the theater, scarves and jackets were shed as old friends found each other across aisles, some thumbing through copies of the book as they settled into seats. Bilingual and including short biographies of each poet, Only the Road / El Solo Camino emphasizes diversity as well as excellence, aiming for a balance that asserts that great poetry can be written by any person regardless of class, gender or race. Randall has spent years in Cuba and so is familiar with its people, its culture and its art; her knowledge is clear in her book’s introduction, which attempts to present Cuba’s recent history in a light unbiased by popular opinion.

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To Swim in Valleys

it_end11After spending his fall semester working as a production intern on the musical Sweet Charity, SFUAD student Triston P. Pullen is announcing his next major project—a stage adaptation of Colleen Hoover’s book It Ends With Us. Pullen, a junior PAD student, will not only be sharing the task of adapting the book with Hoover, but he will also direct the play when it premieres in Sulphur Springs, Texas, a town with which both Pullen and Hoover have emotional ties. Pullen plans to bring the experience gained in New York to his own theater production company Studio 1621, which will co-produce the play. The project includes various SFUAD students including Evan Eastep as graphic designer, Austin Creswell as stage manager, Chris Hanna as film production, Liam O’Brien playing Ryle Kincaid, Madeleine Garcia playing Alyssa Kincaid and Natalie Fox playing Lily Bloom.

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Past / Present

9781935604778-edt-200x300The month of November has been difficult for many in America, including myself. Bigotry is on the rise, and every day seems to bring disheartening news. Nonetheless, on Nov. 29, upwards of 50 people squeezed themselves into Collected Works Bookstore, braving the frigid weather outside to hear Dr. Ron D. Hart in conversation with Gloria Abella Ballen. The topic of discussion was Hart’s latest book, Sephardic Jews: History, Religion, and People, which brings together the narratives of Sephardic Jews who were exiled from Spain and settled throughout the world. Perhaps most significant to this audience was that so many Sephardic Jews settled along the Rio Grande river when they arrived in the Americas, including northern New Mexico.

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Between Something and Nothing

In describing Anne Carson’s work, one runs into a difficulty, for her work’s largest unifying feature is that everything is subject to change. On Oct. 26, the Lannan Foundation hosted a reading at The Lensic Performing Arts Center—Anne Carson in conversation with Michael Silverblatt, an experience not soon to be forgotten and, as with Carson’s work, difficult to categorize.

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Revolting!

In 2016, James Reich, chairman of the Creative Writing and Literature Department, launched his independent publishing house, Stalking Horse Press, which specializes in the “spiky, angular, errant” and seeks work that “engages with the world.” As a writer with “avant garde tendencies,” Reich has sympathy for writers whose work has difficulty finding a place in mainstream literary publishing. His three books I, Judas, Bombshell, and Mistah Kurtz! each play with the idea of what is “mainstream” and “canon,” air quotes for emphasis. Though his books found a home in Soft Skull Press and Anti-Oedipus Press, Stalking Horse Press represents an “opportunity to give something back…to help people…who have a great manuscript but are finding it difficult to find a publisher willing to take a risk on it.”

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Social Static

Meet the Underground Correspondents — Todd Harris Jr., Italia Marie and Niko’a Salas — an eclectic trinity, bonded by a mutual love of performative self-expression. Each member comes from wildly different backgrounds—the South, the Northwest, the Northeast—but all brought something from interdisciplinary interests into their spoken word album Social Static. A truly collaborative experience, Social Static was born both of the need to share a message and a desire to bring the members’ work to life in a less-utilized medium.

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Common Humanity

Mike Sager’s resume reads less like a timeline and more like a greatest hits reel, with all his stories as steeped in history as they are. Having worked early in his career at the Washington Post under Bob Woodward, he went on to work at magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire, where he is currently a Writer-at-Large. His stories range from subjects as varied as celebrities to murderers, Paris Hilton to Warren Durso, whose greatest claim to fame is his apparent ugliness. Yet whether he is writing about famous porn star John Holmes or disgraced former journalist Janet Cooke, it is his empathy that stands out for the reader. Through Sager’s work, dignity is returned to his subjects, their lives and stories reclaimed from a public eye that perhaps sees public figures as entertainment first and human beings second. During a whirlwind two days in Santa Fe, Sager granted interviews, readings, and visited SFUAD classes as the Creative Writing and Literature department’s Fall 2016 visiting writer.

Read the full article at Jackalope Magazine.