Sunday, June 23, 2013


Renga is an ancient collaborative form of linked poetry from Japan. Classical renga was written in one sitting, with each poet having three minutes to complete a stanza before passing it on to the next. Given the logistical difficulties of getting 50 New Mexico poets in one building for three hours, this particular renga will be written via e-mail over the course of several months.  I was asked by Jerry Wellman and Matthew Chase-Daniel of Axle Contemporary to host the renga and write the second and final stanzas. The other stanzas will be written by 25 poets selected by me and an additional 25 poets selected by the poets I selected. Many excellent poets were, of course, left out by the vagaries of the selection process, but many I might not have thought of were included. I've been delighted to discover poets whose work I hadn't known.

Paul Baglione built the beautiful wooden signboard and installed it between SITE and WAREHOUSE 21 in the Railyard Park in Santa Fe.  Each week Matthew and Jerry will hang a new stanza on the sign.  The renga poets will be invited to read their stanzas. Eventually, there will be six stanzas at a time on the sign.  As each new stanza is added, the oldest will be removed.  We will experience, over the course of a year, a changing and evolving 52 stanza collaborative poem. Jerry and Matthew have also invited 52 New Mexico Artists to create a linked drawing which illustrates the poem.  They’ll publish a book at the close of the project with the full poem and the full linked drawing.  There will be three versions of the book -- an affordable paperback, a series of four seasonal miniature Japanese-style folded books, and a beautiful limited edition handmade accordion book.

All of this will culminate with a reading of the poem with the poets at the New Mexico Museum of Art and an exhibition of the drawings in the Axle Contemporary mobile gallery in the summer of 2014.

The Renga Project is made possible by the generous support of Baglione Custom Woodworks, Santa Fe Jin, New Mexico Literary Arts, Artisan Santa Fe, The Railyard Art Project, The New Mexico Museum of Art, Ellsworth Gallery, Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse, OpCit, La Montanita Co-Op, THE magazine, David Richard Gallery, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, and individual donors.


Britta Andersson holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University.  She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Helena Andolsek is a 12-year old student at the Santa Fe Girls School. She enjoys writing poetry and horseback riding. When she's not reading a book, she's drawing horses.

Erin Bad Hand is a poet, mommy, artist, and wife. Not necessarily in that order. She lives and writes in Taos, New Mexico, because that is where her heart is.

Will Barnes teaches middle-school science and language arts in Santa Fe, has a consulting business in rangeland and riparian monitoring and restoration, and is studying for his MFA in poetry at NYU.

Amy Beeder, author of Burn the Field (2006) and Now Make An Altar (2012), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press, has taught poetry at the University of New Mexico and Taos Summer Writers Conference.

Hakim Bellamy. Hip Hop generation dad. Person-in-progress. Poetry-in-practice. Journo. Author. Community Organizer. Bright ideas magnet. Music addict. Inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate. Find him at

Sherwin Bitsui is the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). His honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a PEN Open Book Award.

Sonja Bjelić studied creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts and the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared online at Petri Press, in Earthwords, and on KRUI’s “Poetry on Air.” 

Chee Brossy is a poet and journalist living in Santa Fe. He is Diné from Lukachukai, Arizona, with degrees from Dartmouth College and the Institute of American Indian Arts. Poems online in Taos Journal of Poetry.

Paige Buffington, calls Gallup, New Mexico, her hometown and its surrounding areas (the great Navajo Nation) her home. She will pursue an MFA in poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts beginning in fall 2013.

Santa Fe’s inaugural Poete Maudit Chuck Calabreze has lately become involved in the environmental movement.  “As a poet,” he says, “I’m writing for the ages.  It’d be good if we had some.”

Lauren Camp is the author of This Business of Wisdom, and writer for the poetry blog Which Silk Shirt. She hosts “Audio Saucepan,” a music/poetry program on KSFR 101.1FM.

Deborah Casillas, long-time Santa Fe resident, studied poetry at College of Santa Fe and with local poets Greg Glazner, Jon Davis, and Valerie Martinez. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals.

Ungelbah Davila is the owner and editor of La Loca Magazine. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Davila is a writer, photographer, and burlesque performer and queen of all trades.

Jon Davis, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at IAIA and Santa Fe Poet Laureate, has published seven collections of poetry, including Preliminary Report (Copper Canyon Press).

Matt Donovan is a poet and lyric essayist and the author of Vellum (Mariner, 2007). He is the recipient of a Rome Prize and a Whiting Award, and teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Joanne Dominique Dwyer, author of Belle Laide (Sarabande, 2013), is part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project and, through the Witter Bynner Foundation, works with teens at Bernalillo High School on the "Poetry and Identity" project.

When Jamie Figueroa is not writing or teaching writing or reading fat novels that she promptly forgets the plot lines for or wandering through endless poems that leave her breathless, she can be found in the bathtub trying to perfect her disappearing act. 

Ann Filemyr. Academic Dean at IAIA. Books: On the Nature of Tides (LaNana Creek, 2013), The Healer's Diary (Sunstone, 2012), Growing Paradise (LaNana Creek, 2011). Co-conspirer on startup of IAIA’s low residency MFA in Creative Writing.

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of four poetry collections, including Milk and Filth and a memoir called Bring Down the Little Birds. She teaches creative writing at New Mexico State where she edits Puerto del Sol.

Greg Glazner's books are From the Iron Chair and Singularity, both from Norton. He recently completed a genre-bending novel, Opening the World, and recorded a literary/musical performance with his band, Professor Len & the Big Night.

Lise Goett wonthe Robert H. Winner Memorial Award in Poetry for her manuscript, Leprosarium.  Her other awards include The Paris Review Discovery Award and The Pen Southwest Book Award.

Veronica Golos is author of Vocabulary of Silence, 2011 New Mexico Book Award, and A Bell Buried Deep (Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize / Story Line Press), to be re-issued by Tupelo Press.

Gabe Gomez writes poetry and sometimes writes about music. You’ve probably heard him on the radio, too. He works at St. John’s College, and serves on the Art Commission.

Richard Greenfield is the author of several books of poetry. He is a professor in the MFA program in poetry at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Renée Gregorio has lived in New Mexico since 1985 as poet, publisher, teacher, aikido practitioner, legislative drafter and somatic coach. She recently completed a collection of tanka entitled Snow Falling on Snow, from which Tangram Press published a poetry broadside.

Joy Harjo's seven books of poetry include How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems. Crazy Brave, a memoir, is her most recent publication. She lives in the Mvskoke Nation in Oklahoma. 

Elizabeth Jacobson is the author of Her Knees Pulled In, a book of poems.  

Christopher J. Johnson is a man in the world.  He publishes poems, book reviews, and articles for magazines and newspapers.  Currently he lives in Santa Fe, NM and Madison, WI.

Stephanie Johnson’s first book of poetry, Kinesthesia (New Rivers, 2010) won the 2008 Many Voices Project prize. Her work has appeared in AGNI, BPJ, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Abiquiu with her two daughters.

Past NEA Fellow and Academy of American Poets Forum Featured Poet Donald Levering is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Algonquins Planted Salmon and The Number of Names.

Dana Levin is the author of three books, most recently Sky Burial. A Guggenheim and Whiting Fellow, she teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Jane Lin received her MFA from NYU and has taught at UNM-Los Alamos for many years. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Cura, jmww, and The Collagist.

Santa Fe's third poet laureate, 2010-2012, Joan Logghe has been wildly interested in getting poetry into community and worked joyfully to these ends, a great stealth mission.

2012 Ted Talk speaker Jessica Helen Lopez’s first poetry collection, Always Messing With Them Boys (West End Press, 2011) made the Southwest Book of the Year reading list and received the NM Press Women’s Zia Book Award. 

Valerie Martínez is the author of six books of poetry including Each and Her and Absence, Luminescent. She was the Poet Laureate for the city of Santa Fe from 2008-2010.

Dora E. McQuaid is an award-winning poet, activist, and teacher, whose blend of art, emotion, and service has earned numerous awards. She performs, speaks, and teaches internationally and publishes widely.
Carol Moldaw is the author of five books of poetry—most recently, So Late, So Soon: New and Selected Poems—and a novel, The Widening.

Malena Mörling is the author of two books of poetry, Ocean Avenue and Astoria. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship.

Sawnie Morris won the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial award in 2010 for a selection of five poems and was co-winner of the New Mexico Book Award in 2007.

dg nanouk okpik (Inupiaq, Inuit) holds a BFA from IAIA and an MFA from Stonecoast. She has published two collections: In the Time of Okvik, in Effigies (Salt Publishing) and Corpse Whale (University of Arizona).

Margaret Randall's most recent books of poetry are Where Do We Go From Here? and The Rhizome as a Field of Broken Bones (both from Wings Press).

Jamie Ross lives on the Carson Mesa. Big Thrills: (1) chosen for Best New Poets 2007;
(2) Vinland, first collection (2010), awarded the Poetry Prize from Four Way Books.

Miriam Sagan first wrote renga with her mentor, Elizabeth Searle Lamb. She curated a free verse renga and poetry give away for the town of Salida, Colorado in summer 2012.

Henry Shukman’s collection In Dr No’s Garden was Book of the Year in the Guardian and Times of London. He is Mountain Cloud Zen Center’s teacher, and writes for Tricycle and the New York Times.

Jonathan Skinner lives in the English Midlands and teaches poetry writing and theory at Warwick University. Founder of ecopoetics journal, his publications include Political Cactus Poems and Birds of Tifft.

James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), author of eight books of poetry, including, Combing the Snakes from His Hair, and A Bridge Dead in the Water, received a 2000 Whiting Award.

Catherine Strisik lives and writes poetry in San Cristobal. Her collection Thousand-Cricket Song was published in 2010. Strisik is co-editor of Taos Journal of Poetry & Art.

Luci Tapahonso is the inaugural Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She is an English Professor at UNM and is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry.

Leslie Ullman lives in Taos and teaches in the Vermont College of the Fine Arts low-residency MFA Program. Her fourth poetry collection will appear in August 2013 from UNM Press.

Connie Voisine has taught in New Mexico since 2001. Her books, Cathedral of the North, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, and In This Factory (forthcoming) are all renga of a sort. 

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