Saturday, June 9, 2012

PL Finale

Haven't posted.  My neighbor, Gary Eckard, has been dying.  So we check in every day and feed the four horses, the other animals and water a little.  Then Dion, my Belizian quasi son, drowned in Hawaii. I mean death is death, we all die.  But still... I have written two songs , anybody got a tune?

Yet, as deep as the sorrows, the joys have been stellar.  Last night the finale reading at Odes & Offerings.

At my first appearance as PL these long two years ago I had the idea to arrive at the Bandstand on the Plaza by pedicab.  So of course, I contacted my pedicab/photographer friend Bob Chavez and he zipped us around, former laureate Valerie Martinez, Girls' School student poet Gabriela, and me.    This was a totally different event, more private, and I was feeling a little deprived that I wouldn't get to hire Bob again. It was part of my vision to make the Poet Laureate visible in a campy and joyful way, to polish up the lamp of poetry and see what genii come out.

So, no pedicab.  Only, only, only, when my friends and I stepped out of the Community Gallery after setting up for the reading, a completely random time of day.  Bob Chavez was there, wide brimmed hat, grin ear to ear.  I choose to believe it was chance and synchronicity and PL magic.  We hopped on and got a ride two uphill blocks to sushi happy hour at ISME.  Here are shots of two years ago contrasted with now,  First I'm happy to see Bob, then I realize the party is sort of over.

There have been two readings connected to Odes & Offerings, half the poets in each one and we got 55 or so in audience which was perfect.  Last night we got double that.  I mean Julia Hudson who let me teach poetry in Chimayo at a mission school was there.  My three friends from the north, Susie Verkamp, Ginger Legato, and Kerby Goforth made me so happy I could levitate.  I think I might have left my body which is why I was pretty clumsy at the reading.

And everybody was there!  At the reading, Leland Guthrie, my soon to be son-in-law playing the digeree doo to welcome.   Hope and Matt, two of my children to help sell merch which is what cool people call their CD's at rock concert.  My merch was PoemHolders, that is potholders with a poem typed in, which has never been called merch before.
Frances McCain was there from Albuquerque and so was Amanda Sutton my publicist, and Even Lisa Enos,now married, grown up, and a different last name, but she was my Celebrate Youth Mentee when she was 12.  We have reconnected a little and seeing here there, well....
And from my work life, Kristin Watson from ArtWorks and Alex Traube from CultureNet Poets-in-the-Schools, and Steve Schwartz who has funded so much through Witter Bynner.  And Bruce and Maureen from Chama, and the towns represented were Chama, Taos, ABQ, Medanales, Velarde, Chimayo, and Santa Fe of course.  Here is me being  happy (see below, happy poet).  I read from 90 pages of work written for the city, gave away eight door prizes, and here I am giving one away.

So,I am left to wonder what this two year stint, reign, tenure, gig has meant to me and to the community.  One never knows, can't speak for others, but in my life, coming in my pre-Medicare
years has been perfect timing. I mean, one could slide down into quietude.  This opportunity and honor has kept me cooking, steeping, and percolating.  I have had a blast and hope some of that blast blew cooling and inspiring winds on others. People were so great last night, I couldn't have felt more appreciation.  And I send it right back out.  I want to go out reflecting the joy, and a little less of my famous worry.  But You can't have it all.  After all the fretful person writes a poem, makes sure there is enough milk and printer ink, and keeps batteries on hand.

This isn't the last post by any means, but since I've been pre-occupied with other things, I wanted to get it out pronto.  After the reading lots of people bought merch, there was cake form the Arts Commission,
and artist carted off most of the artwork. Three pieces sold, and I know of four gifts given. I received a wonderful painting from Kuzana Ogg who I totally fell for and she up and moved.

I am excited for the new Poet Laureate.  I am energized with some new projects in writing and to be sure the book from Odes & Offerings by Sunstone Press happens.  I mean nothing is sure, except this fleeting  and surprising joy.  Between end of PL contract in June and Medicare I have exactly one month.  Michael will be in Peru.  Who knew??


  1. This "ode" to the end of Poet Laureate is classic "you," Joan -- your showing the thorough view of all that's going on, the scene, with rich tales of everyone, all your connections, and baring your feelings along the way. Thanks for sharing it all. Your poem holders are the best, practical and beautiful on many levels. And, please know I am sorry for the losses that are happening around you.
    Sorry I couldn't be there!
    -Cirrelda in Albuquerque

  2. Big hug and congratulations! What a wonderful Poet Laureate you have been! xox Gary

  3. Joan, You are amazing and your legacy as the 2010 to 2012 Santa Fe Poet Laureate will reverberate for lots of time. It was especially wonderful how you included schools and students. Even as you hand over your Poet Laureate Crown, we'll all look forward to the next cool thing you'll come up with. Much Love and Admiration, Nina M

  4. Joan, I so wanted to be there for your finale performance. But when you talk about fleeting joy, there is also fleeting sadness and worry and it's what kept me in Taos. Just know that you are loved up here, too, by many friends and fans. I look forward to Odes & Offerings. Keep us posted. XO Lorraine C.


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