Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Chance to Activate: The No Build Option

Though I want to curl up by the fire and binge watch for four years, activism has grabbed me by the apron strings and said, "Words have Power, Write for your health." By Jan 5th the BLM wants to hear from us.  Hunt Power proposes a 33 mile  345kV transmission line through the exquisite Rio Grande Valley. Towers will be up to 120' high, don't get me started! for more info

My letter below has my talking points highlighted. Please jot by e-mail, by hand, or post office a little letter.   Volume matters (NUMBER OF LETTERS, NOT LENGTH) and we all have experience or knowledge of the road to Los Alamos, or Black Mesa, or dances at the pueblos.  Please read my letter and send yours to:  or

BLM, Verde Transmission Line Project, P.O.Box 27115, Santa Fe, NM 87502-0115

When it’s all gone to money, what do we have?

 Our first garden was in 1973, under the proposed “Verde” Transmission line and with the first shovel of earth we uncovered an arrow head, pot shards, and an ax head.  I mention this to point out the fragile and special circumstances of this land in sacred and archaeological riches.  Northern New Mexico is a rare treasure and should be treated respectfully.  I am a writer, and the land and its people have been a main source of inspiration.  My ten books all are concerned with the extraordinary gift that is New Mexico. When I taught at UNM in Los Alamos each drive brought renewed appreciation of the view sheds.  Views will be the first and most obvious loss, and I implore the BLM to stay in compliance and not make exception for preserving these invaluable visual resources. 
       My family has lived in New Mexico since then and we have three native New Mexican children and four grandchildren. 
The “Verde” project, with its doublespeak and insulting name, is an affront and can only bring harm to the land and people it impacts.
   This place of cultural pride, the Hispanic and native people, is worth of exceptional protection. If there were a category of National Treasure this should be it, a living museum, holy place, sanctuary, and wild beauty. As it is please ensure compliance with National Historic Preservation Act.
    In the very well run scoping meeting we heard about the statistics of  health  dangers (a caution that I have been aware of for decades), the wetlands with its birds, the possible impact on bees, Film industry economics, tourism, and the devaluing of real estate.  My son and his wife’s family have property right in the epicenter of this project, and they, as many others, have a modest nest egg in this land. Nothing when compared to Hunt, but a livelihood for them. please do not let one corporation degrade the economics of many.
    The Pojoaque Valley with its schools, churches, traditional communities of Santa Fe County, and pueblos is like not place I’ve ever seen.   Los Alamos National Lab employees, school bus drivers, teachers, doctors, and workers from a multi-ethnic and socioeconomic pool, live as neighbors.   Already this project is dividing people.
     I am sure it is difficult for the pueblos to pass up the opportunity to improve their pueblos by a cash infusion for schools, health, and housing, but in the long long run is this what the majority of their people want? I can’t help but think of the Water Protectors in North Dakota and wonder if this might spark similar response as the word gets out nationally.
    This electric line has already cost me nights of sleep and anxiety.  It impacts all of our quality of life while for Hunt it is cool speculation, they could not even prove that it is needed besides a business opportunity.

The earth remembers us.  How do you want to be remembered?

BLM, please put me on record as voting NO to Verde and Hunt for these reasons.

Joan Logghe

Santa Fe Poet Laureate Emerita

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A loss is a loss is a loss

It's been so long. Haven't had the combo of calm and emotion that I like to launch each blog entry, but today I am allowing myself pajamas at  noon.  Silk and dotted with maroon hearts of all sizes.  I think they are silk, discover in a clothing exchange by my eldest daughter. In case you don't know, my youngest daughter lost her second child, Jade Bird Guthrie at 4 days.

I want to be like Maira Kalman, focused delightfully on the ordinary even after she lost her husband and partner Tibor.  If you don't know her, you probably do and don't know.  She did many New Yorker covers, including the famous "Newyorkistpan" one after 911, remember Kvetchnya, Pashmina, and Botoxia?  She has the gift of humor after loss, and a humorous approach to life.
She also illustrated Obama's inauguration for the New York Times.  I first found her in Bill Gersh's house, the children's book Max Makes a Million, about the poet dog whose dream is Paris. And guess what? He sells his book of poems for a million and gets to live that dream. Wonder why I love her?

I recommend her, just Google, she's a vitamin for me, loving the odd and the daily, a man's suit, a paper punch, and hats and hairdos everywhere.  Which brings me to Beti again., the hair stylist.  My mom on her yahrzeit or anniversary of death.  Same date as Robert Winson's so I light two candles.  My mom has been gone 15 years which is difficult to grasp.  This year I was glad she was not here to endure the loss of our grandchild, Jade Bird.  She missed all of my lovely and living grandkids, but we enjoy them for her.  Galen's blond tuft of hair we attributed to her expertise in coloring.

I know it's been six month's since we lost Jade Bird and why I haven't written in this blog.  I wanted to experience the processing of grief.  This week the lovely Mary Beth came by with a card for Jade. Late, she said. But it was perfect, an acknowledgement that this is real and human and endures.

As I was deciding to write this two occurrences occurred...  My g-mail opened up to the week of Jade's death and the  e-mails pouring in and out around it. My heart has been a bit dumbed down due to anti-depressants, one I can't pronounce.  Then just now a bird hit the window about four feet away from me.  I think it is reminding me to write.  Hope, my bereaved daughter, has been writing sporadically and said it needs a warning label.  She goes for it.  I realized that so much of how I am now is better, and I don't feel compelled to tell every stranger on the street, or man emptying trash at the post office, or bank teller what happened to Jade.  But though the outer M & M coating is less crisp and now deeper, maybe a fig Newton, there is still a core of loss.

So, 45 current blog followers (up from the nine I brag about), if it's too much you can unblog me.
My gift to you is Maira Kalman.  Your gift to me is reading this.  I met Tess Gallagher after Raymond Carver died and she was still visiting the grave daily, and having people impatient with her.  Get over it could be the national mantra. She said there is an ecology of grief, a term which stayed with me over 20 years.  She and Donald Hall, and Phyllis Hotch,  and Miriam Sagan and Paul Monette and Isabel Allende and Joan Didion and Mirabai Starr all wrote bravely into the grief.  A baby that didn't make it, but made it for four days is not a teenager or losing a lover.  But a loss is a loss is a loss, and grief will have its wild way with us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to measure tears

I don't know if tears can be measured, if anyone has bothered to collect them and see if they have cried a thimble, a tablespoon, a half pint or liter, a bucket.  We tend to want to exaggerate and say we have wept an ocean.  I think I weep about a medicine dropper a day.  I think this is pretty accurate.

I feel like the world should know, but I have not posted since my worried optimism of March. I am sad beyond sad to report that my daughter's beautiful baby, Jade Bird Guthrie, 7 Lb. 12 Oz. was born only to never cry, or take a breath. She was able to be on life support and many of us got to feel her presence, hold her, and then let her go four days later at the Children's Hospital in my hometown of Pittsburgh.  My daughter and her husband feel that they were visited by a little hummingbird who touched down and could not be held. It was the first death at the Midwife Center in 35 years.

When meeting her small body, all pulse and graph and hookups, I thought of Alvaro Cardona-Hine quoting his Zen teacher,  "Long is long, short is short, Every life complete." He's 89,  and Jade was four days here.  I am on bird wave-length these days.

It was a fluke, a blessing and a curse, a loss and an innocence, and so I measure my days in medicine droppers.  We are blessed that she came and went peacefully.  That we were all treated so respectfully and loved so much. That she did not live a life compromised and suffering, I am truly grateful for this.  But each day is rough, taking homeopathy, Bach Flower remedies, herbs for grief. My kids planned their own wake, cremation, flight home to New Mexico, and burial of ashes, or a Good Bye Ceremony as one friend named it.  Jade's ashes are here, with a Golden Rain tree planted by them, a hummingbird feeder I fill every day or so. I watch the birds come and go, Scarlet Tanagers, finches, and hummers.

I learned to tend cut flowers, do laundry non-sop for the bereaved, that I was able to rise up and hit walls and crash, only to rise up again. Each person, both our family and Leland's, gave from their very core and genius.  One might be playful with our 3 year old "big sister." One might order egg-rolls or buy plane tickets.  The giving was non-stop, round the clock blessings. People got in cars and drove all day.  People wept all night and stayed by her in the NICU.

Yesterday we attended a mass for Valentine, an 8 year old son and grandson of family friends.  He was a little hoop dancer from Pojoaque Pueblo, injured in a car accident a year ago, and finally was ready to be released, no more surgeries after 14 of them.  I saw him dance once and never forgot the vitality and charisma.  We grandparents exchanged hugs and sorrow, we had been neighbors at the bus stop so many days and years ago. So here I am, wordless for all these weeks.  My kids, Hope Logghe and Leland Guthrie, speak so eloquently on their Facebook accounts, you can go on and scroll down to see what they have to say, how they frame this great loss.  Or my page, down about four entries, their language.

This is what I can say, finally after sadly seeing the last blog posting and letting it silence me.  Hope posted her own pregnant beauty on her birthday, and her strength helps me be able to face up and find my own.  Thanks for sharing this moment with me, and the tides of sorrows we all have felt, may they wash us a little bit cleaner, more core and source. Every person I meet meets my pain with their own story.  I agree with poet Jack Gilbert, that this is paradise, right here in each other's eyes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Shrine on a String

  We put Corina on a plane this morning to fly out as support for her sister as we wait for little girl #2. She was supposed to fly last week, but a flu and 102 degree temperature caused a delay.  We thank Southwest airlines for understanding.  Mike and I feel related to Southwest as both the airline and our marriage occurred in 1971.  We are both celebrating our 45th.

  I don't know why I am not in Pittsburgh now, I really don't.  I think to keep my worry energy contained and 2,000 miles away. Hope has always read me and I'm contagious.  Last week Hope and Leland had a baby blessing, inviting their Pittsburgh friends to their Pittsburgh house to each bring a bead. My niece, Lisa Slesinger, and my childhood friend, Nancy Tapper Smith, were there.They read some of my poems, and I sent eight pink rose quartz beads from my mother's necklace.  Rose quartz carries love and heart.

   Here is the necklace, so beautiful and carrying meaning, prayer, and our New Mexico ways into this new place, my old love and home.  There was the woman, Eileen, we met at Squirrel Hill farmer's Market with its two strong quartets and juice bar.  There were friends from La Leche League and Hope's Crunchy Moms group. One woman said it was one of the top ten hippiest things she had done in her life. My dear ones called with a good report. Hope and Leland are magnets for gathering interesting folks.

  I am in prayerful times, pilgrims Friday and Easter morning today. Hope herself was born in this house on a spring morning, Mother's Day in 1985.  I sit and stare at this one photo of a wedding my cousin Amy Friendman Doran sent me.  Beti is the glam blonde and Harry the tallest.  These are my peeps, not so crunchy but definitely glittering and glad to be alive.  I am living every day as my first/last.   The necklace is a shrine, each bead has a wish and an intention. 
Time to make my house shrine to welcome the baby,  New Mexico style.

  My Father's side, I recognize nine.  Beti and Aunt Clara, the last two of the trio above.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hi Ho Silver Ghazal

Hi Ho Silver Ghazal with photos

What I keep forgetting is I  keep forgetting
Every time I stand up, it takes a day to sit down

The first blue bird is bathing in between robins
We're waiting for the tanagers to flit down

All year the word cancer keeps whispering
to some it is shouting, screams till she bit down

The old poets I love don't live in China, they long
ago left Japan, to visit me, stroll Forward Ave. a bit down

He said "I never heard of Nepal
now people go there like downtown" 

My mother is persistent from beyond this life.
Just now I order a matchbook with her name written down.

"Can you imagine silver in her house?" my bro asked, meaning my abode.
"Yes," my stepdad said. "Hi Ho Silver." That old clown.

We are awaiting the next baby. It is a long road
all have taken, between the heart and the crown.

Today we will visit a farm, a library, some new
folks who braved the elements to land in this town.

Last week we helped clean road for the pilgrims to walk down.
Easter Sunday, plum blossoms, the water in the ditch pours down

Life is indeed full, you old fool Joan Logghe.
There are three of us, just Google us, now sit town.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Unpunctuated Awe This Whole Week

My new book arrived, hot off the print-on-demand press and published by Tres Chicas Book.

Hey, isn't that my own press with Miriam Sagan and RenĂ©e Gregorio?  Isn't that my own photo on the cover, taken by my stepsister-in-law?  Is the song, "She's so vain, she probably thinks this song is about her?" playing in the background?  Yes, yes, and yes.  I am in the big yes of a new book with its two years of taking notes in Santa Fe and another two years of getting it together as manuscript. Make that four years but who is counting?  We are at the time in life where every ten minutes it is Friday.

Friday again, we say, and by now it's Saturday and we're driving to Taos to honor Natalie Goldberg whose book Writing Down the Bones is 30 years old. It's a little writer's reunion with Eddie Lewis who grew up five houses from me in Pittsburgh, Elaine Sutton who I met at the very first Natalie class I visited on Don Cubero, Elaine weeping as she read about childhood, and Sawnie who we published with Tres Chicas, and Iris Kelz, Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie, and Rick from Brodsky books and Rob Wilder and Mirabai Starr.  It was a love fest. The celebration felt a lot like a memorial only the dearly beloved was sitting in the front row with a wild smile.

After the celebration and chocolate cake, gluten free, I wanted to give Elaine a snapshot of the two of us from 1998.  We ended up looking at my poem- holders, giving her my new book, giving Natalie my book, and selling two to Brodsky books in the parking lot.  It was a normal scene for me, the back of my car full of potholders with my poems inked on and cartons of books.  A poet's way-back of her Subaru Outback. Here I am peddling at Ghost Ranch last summer.

The whole week was alive and whole.  I gave away my best in poetry teaching to over 200 elementary students grades six and fourth for ArtWorks, the aesthetic education program out of Lincoln Center where I've been delighted to work for about eight or nine years.  When I first met Natalie Goldberg I was a poet in the schools, and now, thousands of teaching days and nights and hithers and yons later, I am still poeting in the schools. My mentor in ArtWorks has died, the indomitable Lorraine Schecter whose act of generosity, her brilliant My Last Picture Show, not only fund-raised for ArtWorks but showcased the depth of her as an artist. Every piece of art from her life sold for $100 or less.  I got four pieces.  I hung a work on paper over my bed.  It has a Mary Oliver quote:

     "Look, I want to love this world
     as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get
     to be alive and know it."  Mary Oliver, "October"

I've been looking at this week on the calendar, my Day.Timer with every little green lined rectangle of a day filled.   I have been afraid of this week, and the upcoming one, and yet thanks to the Tao and good weather and health and school kids waving their arms in the air in response to poetry it has been a total joy.  I even had energy to go to the Upaya Zen Center on Wednesday and honor Natalie Goldberg then too, and eat good Zen food next to strangers.  I found out later that the man across from me is the Zen calligrapher I wonder if I'm brave enough to study with.  And this whole week has been saying Yes!!

I even zipped out of my last Friday class of the  student packed week and zoomed up to Espanola for Silver Sneakers, an exercise class that is free with my insurance. I am aging.  I am in reunion mode, in happiness when I can be.  Natalie's presence in my life has been stellar.  I am glad she is alive, and super glad I am alive, and wildly glad for my family's vitality, all eleven of us and new baby a month or so away.

And I'd be delighted to sign and send out my new book, Unpunctuated Awe. 
Just e-mail me at