Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Escritores is a community writing group started by Chimayo Poet, David Martinez. The writing groups meets twice a month at the Northern New Mexico Collage library. For the second October gathering, El Razafotografista was the facilitator of the writing group. Three images were used as prompts for poems. Those images and poems are being shared here.


El Esqueleto Borracho
© 10-23-14, Angelo J. Sandoval

In the dark shadow
of the bar’s rincon
sat a figure slumped on his chair
the flash of the stage light
hit his face
rancheras and cumbias giving
bailadores rhythm to dance too.

The ghostly figure’s dark eyes
sparkle with the turn of the disco ball
head tilted to the left, slumped on his shoulder.

Just before sun down
he made his way to Vic’s Bar
casting his ghostly shadow on
bar patrons as he made his
way to his favorite corner.
He waves down the mesero to the
darkness of his misery, the corner.

Face hiding in the shadows,
he speaks in a low tone
with a rustic voice,
“Same una botella de tequila.”

Triste corridors make there way
to his ears,
the tears run down from his eyes
as the musica plays.

Memories of lost lovers
and war torn memories
fill his soul,
the tequila feels his sorrows

the disco ball shines light
into his dark eyes
sadness fills his heart
as tequila fills his panzita.

Sitting in the corner,
the clock Strick’s one o’clock
the musica died out
empty bottle of tequila,
the man stumbles out into
the full moon
light shines through his rib cage
the sorrow of the dead man
feels the night sky.


La Esqueletafotografista
© 10-23-14, Angelo J. Sandoval

She came from the land of immortality
as soul from ancient times
units with modern technology

Kneeling behind her camera
La Esqueleta looks dead ahead
spooked by the wonder of the day
she recognizes flower designs
and colorful patterns
the paleness of white brought to
life by the brightness of colors.

The figure is unknown to her
never seen in the land of the immortals
her camera, to heavy to hold up
her arms frozen to the unknown figure.

She is unable to capture the moment
the figures are not real to hug yet
they approached her in song and dance,
in collaboration………… She asks, “quien son”?


Please feel free to use these images to create your own poems. If you would like for your poem to be added to this post please email poems/prose/short stories (under 350 words) here. for review and consideration. Authors retain all rights to their work. Photographs are copyrighted by El Razafotografista and Company de Esperanza Fotography. May use with written consent.


©Angelo J. Sandoval

Part I

Nestled in a reconcito,
I have seen you in the corner
of my eye as I have
driven by your
humble exterior.

I didn’t pay much attention
to your presence,
but the few times I did catch
a glimpse of you,
I wondered if you were
offering sacred prayer space,
yet didn’t bother to find out.

I heard from news sources
you had been violated.
Your sacred space,
treated with disrespect.
Your heart was taken from you.
Ancient relics that carried
prayers of antepasados
stolen from the sacredness


Part II

My heart broke into pieces
as I read the news of your torment
You, the heart of a community
the refuge of the lonely
Violated by one of your
sons or

The heart that is You,
was taken,
taken to unknown places
Lost to the cycle of addiction
that plagues your community
The same community that cares
for you,
that made every effort to protect you.

My heart is broken.



Angelo J. Sandoval

The search for indeginous
identity roots
My journey has been
full of adventure.
I search the spiritual
en mi querido Norté.

I traveled to Alcatraz Island,
celebrating sunrise ceremonies
antepasados making there
presence known
as Father Sun breaks over the horizon,
Grandmother Moon slowly begins
her decent in to the ocean’s horizon.

The beauty of the Morning Star
Came to bless us with love prayer
trails to the ancestors in the other world.

I search for a story which has been
lost to the winds of time.
names of sacred spaces unknown
Spanish corrupted names
leave my mind wondering
wondering where
where did they go?
Why did they go?
No answers.

Adventure seeks me out
Visiting ancient ruins
of a forgotten city.

Lost to the winds of time
reasons why,
why an ancient city was left behind.
I found peace at the ruins site.

For once the unknown
became, ok.
I came to a place labelled, ruins.

Narrated videos of dependents
of ancient people remind us,
These spaces are not ruins,
they are home to ancestor spirits.

I enter sacred space, the Great Kiva.
The energy of ancient peoples are
ever present,
I make two visits in to this sacred space.
I close my eyes and daydream of lost
Alto Huachín Kiva,
lost sacred space
lost stories of creation, love, family, and the beyond.

One more piece of the puzzle found,
yet it doesn’t find its fitted place in my
people’s lost history.

Sacred space, the Great Kiva
your gift of sacred space will
live in my heart till the end of my days.
Entering your sacred space without
the need of a card to prove my lost
indigenous identity,
Your sacred space gave healing
to a lost soul.






The photo were taken at Aztec Ruins National Park in Aztec, New Mexico.

©Angelo J. Sandoval

I look toward the New Mexico sky,
the heavens above
sun sets approach the day
evening sets in,
the clouds, fire red
turning bright orange as the sun sets.

The clouds, silent
as the day passes
the clouds witness the
beauty that is New Mexico
and the ugliness, just the same

These silent clouds hold in them
the secrets of negativity,
the load voices of a people from an Enchanted Land.

These silent clouds
burn with the Sun’s rays
as Father Sun
makes his way behind the
Jemez Mountains.

These silent clouds
keep secrets hidden
in their soft fluffy woolly body
the secrets of enchanted dreams
and repulsive nightmares

These silent clouds
protect word of
prayers uttered by
enchanted hearts and souls
the clouds silence has
no room for judgment
only a healing presence.

The glow of fire sun as it sets
The clouds take your words with them
as they fade in the night sky






©Angelo J. Sandoval

I look into the heavens
old man Cloud,
I notice his face
pale white pressed on
blue skies.
Rains have come by his grace.
Expressed expression
of sadness are evident
as old man Cloud has
one eye closed in
painful emotions.
Old man Cloud
Saddened by the horrors
Death dying
children suffering
adult world horrors.
Violence defaces
Mother Earth
Old man Cloud

Old man Cloud
Fades from Father Sky
Old man Cloud



Meet this month’s feature at the Española Poetry Explosion.


Sheri Lopez is a little lady who was born in Albuquerque on August 22, 1985. That makes her 28 for those of you who hate math. She has a little man named Dominic who is pretty much the radest creature on the face of the earth, at least to her. He is almost two and this makes Sheri very nervouse because he can already run faster than her which is forcing her to get into shape to catch him. Mostly because she does not want to be one of those mother who has her child on a leash. But that is neither here, nor there, since this should be about her writing.

She has been writing her whole life, mainly short stories, but poetry is fun for her too. She does this in her free time or at 3 in the morning for some odd reason. Sheri really likes 3am. And in those tiny moments when the world inspires her she takes phrases and hordes them until they become a piece. This also happens to be the first time she has ever been a featured anything and it makes her nervous. But all in all she hopes you all like what she has to offer and she thanks you for coming.

(By the way, Sheri wrote this, but it is hard for her to talk about herself so she chose the third person format. Sheri hopes you do not mind and possibly think it is funny).
With love,



Angelo J. Sandocal
(c) 12-9-2013

You appeared to me as we
the streets of Burque
enjoying an evening of
y celebracion.

I saw you peeking around
the door on the wall
on 2nd Street.
you appeared in all your beauty.
I only saw you for a split second,
la noche estaba oscura,
pero como siempre
you let your presence know.

I visited you
the next day
con el sol brillante
y como siempre
you gave me hope
la esperanza
que todo esta bien

In your presence
you vide una imagen de
tu hijo crucificado
la imagen de mis antepasados
los vide ofrecindo oracions
en los modos antigues.
Mi corazon se alegro
viendo su imagen
y la imagen de la procession
de mis antepasados al calvario.

From behind the door you appeared
made your presence known
sending your message of
como siempre.

“Lowriting: Shots Rides and Stories   
                from the Chicano Soul”

Growing up in Cordova, New Mexico owning a lowrider was common among many of the homeboys. I remember my Tio Allen washing his 1972 Monte Carlo, my Tio Randy washing is 1969 VW Bug and awhile later his late 1970s Chrysler Cordoba. My Tio Spunke with his multitude of cards, Cadillac’s, Cutlass Supremes, just to name a few of his lowriders.

Beginning on Good Friday until late September, every Friday night through Sunday afternoon the main street in Espanola was full of lowriders. Riverside Drive was at times full of lowriders. Cruising bumper to bumper. Pulling over at different areas to talk with the homies or to pick up chicks. That was the lowrider world I knew growing up. I didn’t know back then that lowrider was much bigger then Espanola. The world for me ended in Santa Fe when it came to lowriders. This was our tradition, something dads pasted down to their sons, for the fatherless sons, tios and grandpas would teach the tradition.

In my late teens I went to my first car show in Espanola and the world of lowriders out side of Espanola was open. I saw cars from places such as California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. I was amazed with the cars I was seeing from many different parts of the Southwest. It was truly amazing that I saw vatos from different areas sharing one common art from, Cars. It was cool seeing one car model transformed in many different ways. I was blown away.
I went to school in a private Methodist Church school in Espanola. I remember reading poetry and stories by authors such as Emily Dickenson and  Robert Frost. I don’t remember the short story author because I wouldn’t read the stories, I was lazy like that. I didn’t know that Chicanos had poets or writers. I only knew of Rudolfo Anaya and his book, “Bless Me, Ultima”. In my literary world vies Chicanos didn’t write or create much poetry or other types of writing.

It wasn’t until college when I came into contact with Chicano Literature. I was introduced to authors such as Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Sandra Cisneros and Alurista to name a few. I was a great time in my life. The one tradition that I didn’t read about was the lowrider culture. In fact, I don’t believe there is much out there about the lowrider culture, until now.

California based photographer, Art Meza and Florida based independent publisher Santino J. Rivera have come together to create a one of a kind book. A book that has never been put together. The book is collection of Art’s photographs of the many lowriders he has photographed and a collection of poems and other writings collected by Santino Rivera, editor and publisher. These two homeboys have come together to bring a one of kind book exhibiting the lowrider culture via photography and literature.

I interviewed Art Meza (AM) and Santino J. Rivera (SJR) regarding there contribution to this book. Here is what they had to say about “Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul’. Release date is pending and will be announced by Santino in due time.

Interview with Art Mesa (AM)

AJS: Please introduce yourself.

AM: My name is Art Meza Jr. but a lot of people know me as “Chicano Soul”, a name I began using a few years ago and one I hope serves as a representation of who I am and what I try to capture with every shot from my camera. I am happily married and a father of two. I am a proud son of Los Angeles.

AJS. How did you become interested in photography?

AM: I can’t say things like “I’ve been in love with photography all my life.” Or “All my life I’ve wanted to be a photographer.” No. My interest in photography is relatively new but none the less growing stronger by the day. It was sparked by the support and encouragement I received from family and really good friends. I started off photographing the cars I’d see at many of the classic car/ lowrider shows my family and I would attend. I didn’t think much of my shots when I began sharing them on Twitter/Instagram but was surprised at all the love they received.

AJS: Have lowriders been a part of your photography since you started shooting?

AM: I’ve always enjoyed classic cars and lowriders in particular. Although Lowriding itself is not a tradition in my family, it is one that is revered by many Chicanos. Hell, ask anyone. Chicanos invented Lowriders and the thing that has always drawn me to them is the pride that goes into building them and then showing them off. That pride radiates off the car just as bright as it’s custom paint job. I take what I’ve learned and try to capture that pride and then share it with everyone who’s willing to look.

AJS: How did you and Santino come together for Lowriting?

AM: Santino and I have connected on many ideas in the few years we’ve known each other.

I mentioned my goal I have with my photography and what I try to express and not only did Santino get it but also offered to work with me to help share my work. Santino had the vision to put together “Ban This”, an anthology containing nearly 40, both well known and unknown Xican@s, which gave us a way share our struggles and amplify our voices. I’ll always be grateful to have been a part of Ban This and am just as excited and honored to have his confidence to play a bigger role with Lowriting.

AJS: What does this book mean to the Chicano community? Do you consider this book another resource to teach about an art subculture among Chicanos?

AM: “Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul” will feature over 50 of my photographs. Some I have already shared and some that haven’t been seen yet. I can only hope my attempt to show it off in a positive way does the culture itself justice. Too many people view Lowriders in a negative way. They’re associated with gangs and crime instead of appreciated for the art forms they were/are meant to be.

AJS: With out giving to many details, can you talk a little bit about the art you will be showcasing in this book?

AM: We believe this book will help change that. There are no books out there like this until now.  One that tells of the Chicano Lowrider culture with the respect it deserves. Con Safos

The following imgaes are part of the book. Photos are part of Art’s lowrider photography collection. Images are available for sell at Art’s on line etsy store. Art has an array of products available for sell.




Interview with Santino J. Rivera (SJR)

AJS: Please introduce yourself.

SJR: Santino J. Rivera is an independent publisher, author, editor and freelance writer. Born in Denver, Colorado, Rivera cut his teeth as a freelance journalist, hired geek, street poet and EMT. His books collect material unlike anything else currently on the market today.

In 2012 Rivera published ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, as a response to the censorship and book banning of Chicana/o authors in Arizona. The book was featured at the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books. Currently, Rivera is preparing to release Lowriting: Shots, Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul by Art Meza.

Rivera has performed spoken word and lectured in several dives, unknown coffee shops, universities and on street corners from Boyle Heights to the mean streets of the Dirty South. He is passionate about free speech, Xican@ activism and the printed word. Currently, Rivera resides with his family in Saint Augustine, Florida. You can reach him at @sjrivera on Twitter.

AJS: How long have you been an independent publisher? What got you on the road to this endeavor?

SJR: I’ve been publishing professionally since 2007 – I released my first book Demon in the Mirror that year and haven’t looked back since. However I’ve been into this since college ( mid 90s). I started out helping to create and publish an independent Chicano newspaper in Denver and gradually started getting into publishing chapbooks of my own material and handing them out in parking lots after poetry readings. I was inspired by people like Henry Rollins who created his own publishing company, printed and distributed his work at his shows. He broke all the rules of conventional publishing and that really spoke to me. I’m still breaking the rules and I love it.

AJS: How many titles does your company have on its listing?

SJR: Right now I have eight titles with one out of print and three slated for release

AJS: How did you and Art come together for Lowriting?

SJR: Art started really getting into taking these photos and they just kept getting better and better. He has a real eye for this sort of thing and I picked up on that very early in the game. I follow the philosophy of publishing books that I, personally, would want to read so I figured that a book of his photography would be just that. This was all happening while I was still touring for ¡Ban This! and naturally we started throwing out ideas about what would make a book like that sing. It was a mutual decision to tie together Art’s amazing photos with stories about lowriders and lowrider culture. The more we talked about it the bigger the idea became and her we are, on the cusp of what is shaping up to be a groundbreaking book.

AJS: What does this book mean to the Chicano community? Do you consider this book another resource to teach about an art subculture among Chicanos?

SJR: That’s not for me to say but I do hope that it has a positive impact on the Chicana/o community – we need it. You have to understand that this kind of thing has never been attempted before. I realize that sounds weird but it’s true. This book will be a marriage of stunning lowrider photography and the stories that go along with them. I searched high and low for this kind of book but never found it. Sure, there are a few books of lowrider pictures, for car enthusiasts etc. And you might find a story about lowriders here and there if you really dig deep but never the two together and not like this. This book is unprecedented in that way. Art’s photographs are not like what most people expect when it comes to lowriders – you won’t find the exploded and posed ranflas with half-naked women sprawled all over them, like you usually do. Art’s photos are classy and speak to another era of lowriding and the stories in this book compliment that quite well.

As for being a teaching tool, I definitely believe this book could be used in that vein. Just like ¡Ban This! it is my hope that this book reaches across genres and breaks the boundaries that usually segregate these kinds of books. As Luis J. Rodriguez writes about in Lowriting, lowriding is worldwide now, which in turn means that Chicano culture is also worldwide. Our culture and our stories deserve to be told and taught from just as much as any other and if Lowriting can help in that endeavor than I have done my part to help preserve our culture. I hope people see that.

AJS: Without giving to much detail, can you tell me about the pantheon of authors representing in this book?

SJR: In addition to Art’s stunning photography, the amount of talent in this book is mind blowing. I mean, you’re getting over 50 of Art’s images collected in one book and that alone is worth the price of admission but we have coupled that with an amazing collection of writers. For starters there’s work by both Luis J. Rodriguez and Luis Alberto Urrea. There are also contributions from Lalo Alcaraz, Gustavo Arellano and Alvaro Rodriguez (cowriter of Machete). If that’s not enough there are contributions from actors Danny De La Paz (Boulevard Nights, American Me) and Daniel Villarreal (Stand and Deliver, American Me), prolific author Jim “The Beast” Marquez, publisher Richard Vargas and the current New Mexico Chicana/o Poetry Slam Champ Anna C. Martinez. There are also works by poets Viva Flores, Andrea J. Serrano and documentary filmmaker Gloria Morán.

If you’re still not convinced that this book will be on another level, there’s also work by artists Angel Diaz, Josh Divine and Emilio Medina, journalist Allen Thayer, authors Xicano X, Ricky Luv, Roberto  Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, Gina Ruiz, Benjamin Quiñones Reyes and Jason Hoyt, poets Nancy Aidé González, Enrique Arroyo, Nikkeya West, Tara Evonne Trudell, Noelle Reyes, Raul Sanchez, Manuel Gonzalez, Robert Flores, Lizz Huerta, Angelo Sandoval, Lawrence Gandara, Steven Alvarez and photos featuring model Marya “Hellabreezy” Ramirez.

This book truly is a work of art and I’m extremely proud of it. I think it’s going to blow people away and break boundaries.   

Please check out other titles by Broken Sword Publications.

Let us meet this month’s Speak, Poet feature, Rich Boucher. Rich is a contributor the 2nd Anniversary blog post Reflecting on the 2 year anniversary of Speak, Poet and a contributing Poet to my anthology,  “Palabras O Muerte: Vivan Los Escritores”.




A past member of five national poetry slam teams (Worcester, Mass. (x2), Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del. and Albuquerque, N.M.), Rich has published four chapbooks of poetry and for seven years hosted an open reading and slam in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in March of 2008, Rich has been performing and writing steadily in the Duke City, and is a regular contributor/editor at In 2012 Rich was named to the first inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate Selection Committee for a two-year term, and his participation helped to select Hakim Bellamy, the City of Albuquerque’s first official Poet Laureate. Rich’s poems have appeared in Artistica, Red Fez, Adobe Walls: An Anthology of New Mexico Poetry, Apeiron Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Brawler, The Bicycle Review, The Camel Saloon, CARNIVAL, Citizens for Decent Literature, Crack the Spine, Dead Beats, Delaware Poetry Review, Epigraph, Eunoia Review, Extract(s), Fickle Muses, Grey Sparrow Journal, HyperText, The Lake, Leaves of Ink, Lyre Lyre, Neon, The Rag, The Malpais Review, Clutching at Straws, Shot Glass Journal, Missive, Mutant Root, ppigpenn, Poydras Review, quarter after, Sparkbright, The Subterranean Quarterly, The Mas Tequila Review, The Yellow Ham, Visceral Uterus, Borderline, 200NewMexicoPoems,The Legendary and The Nervous Breakdown. In January of 2012, Rich appeared on the album, “Dylan – Philadelphia pays tribute to a Legend”, an album featuring various Philadelphia artists performing covers of Dylan songs to benefit Amnesty International and the End Hunger Network; Rich’s contribution to the album was a spoken-word rendition of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”. Hear some of his poems at In March of 2013, Rich’s poem, “In Memory of My Neighbor, Carol, Who Has Not Died Yet” was named one of Brawler’s Best Poems of 2012”. 

Growing up in Cordova reading and writing were far from my mind. I spent my time riding my bike all over the plazita, swimming in the river and playing basketball. When I was old enough to drive, I spent by time cruising Spaña’s main drag. I would spend hours up and down River Side Dr. from one end to the other. These are the things we did for fun and to fit in. During this time reading and writing were only things I did for school, even when I first started college. Reading was what the nerds did, not the cool kids. Because of this mentality I missed out on a lot of great literature as a teenage and young adult.

I returned to college in the Spring Semester of 1999, I took many classes that were sounded interesting because I needed to bring up my GPA. I began to learn about literature written by Chican@s about our history and events that impacted our community and people. Even though the list of Chican@ writers is distinguished, it was also short. I was in search of more. I wanted to learn more about the history for New Mexico, especially Española and Cordova.

In the Summer of 2009 I attended a gathering, the group was called La Resolana. From this I began to write my own poetry. By the end of the summer we had put together a chapbook titled “Declamacion” this was the beginning of a collection of poems by local writers writing about our community and history. The treasure I was searching for was coming together. At our Resolana meetings we would gather and share our poetry and words or wisdom and guidance. This was something I never thought I would be a part of, but I found that it was a part of me that I hadn’t discovered in high school or my early years in college.

In July of 2011, Adán Baca had a poetry reading at the Española Library, the event was nameless for a few readings. I then created a Facebook page and called Poetry at the Española Library. After a few months Adán in a discussion with other poets dubbed the event The Española Poetry Explosion, it was named after an explosive night of poetry.

The Española Poetry Explosion has been a place of safety for many new poets and a place for veteran poets to come together and create a family of poets and writers. We have experienced flute players, musicians, singers and a host of veteran and new poets. The Española Library has been a great host. The staff has opened their arms and hearts to a community of renegade poets and revolutionaries. We have hosted chapbook releases by La Resolana when “Declamacion II” was released and when Luis Peña released his chapbook “The Three-Legged Dog”. We have had artist share their art with the community.

The Española Poetry Explosion is something new and explosive for our community. A safe have for young and old writers alike, newbies to the poetry scene or veterans. We have come together to expose a hidden talent of writers and poets. We gave a voice to many individuals who have been struggling with addiction and they became our teachers. Giving us an inside look in to their world of pain and let us know that they were human and had feeling just the same. The Library was their safe haven and class room to open many eyes in to the world of addiction. This is what community is all about. Every person who has come to a reading has become part of a family were all members are equals and all are respected.

I am honored to have been able to photograph the many great poets and artists who have come to the Española Poetry Explosion. I have collected a great number of photos of many open mic poets and featured poets. In the following blog I have invited Adán Baca, host to Española Poetry Explosion, Amanda Salinas, Adán Trujillo, Pilar Trujillo and Andrea Serrano for their thoughts and reflections regarding the Española Poetry Explosion.



Adán Baca

One of the beautiful and powerful things about poetry and spoken word is freedom, freedom to express what the poet has or wants or needs to say. There are no rules and no expectations. When the poet touches the pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard, voice to text on smart phone….the words are liberated and can also become liberating. These poems spoken from the heart, the mind the imagination, the funny bone; inspired by hope, loss, broken hearts, new loves, lost loves, our children, our elders our acequias our gardens and our plebe.

So for over the past two years the poets and the community have found a home at the Espanola Library. The library has been a great host and partner. The library belongs to the community and Teddie, Sherry and the library staff have been welcoming and supportive.

We’ve seen and heard incredible featured poets from as far away as Denver, many from Albuquerque and still more from right here in mi querido Norte. It’s been a blessing to see and hear people writing and sharing their words for the first time. It’s also been encouraging and powerful to see so many people come out and support the Espanola Poetry Explosion and the poets who share their words.


Amanda Salinas
Photo used with permission.

Two years flew by for Poetry at the Library I was so excited to learn something like this would be in my hometown Española N.M and  Adan Baca creator of Poetry at the Library brought in Hoy Recovery patients to read their truths and healing that hit my heart and gave me a better understanding of the problems we have in our community.  I featured twice and although I had featured before in Albuquerque something about performing in front of my peers in a town I called my own yet never really fit in made it more nerve racking, but Adan made it fun and laid back making it that much easier. I look forward to coming in and sharing my old and new poems, seeing my community come together positively.  Something different.  Not forgetting its “funner than a sack of wet mice”- Pilar Trujillo. As time flys by and realize that in just two years I have heard the most heartfelt, honest and raw poetry in one room than anywhere else and I’m lucky to have been able to experience it. Happy two year anniversary Poetry at the Library, and many more.


Pilar Trujillo

I first heard about the Espanola Poetry Explosion through my brother, Adan. He had been going to these monthly poetry readings and always came back excited. I decided to check it out one night, and I was immediately blown away. There was a true sense of community, but more than that, it felt like a really safe place to read a poem out loud in front of people. Everyone was so welcoming and respectful and very encouraging. I had never read any of my poetry out loud before. I decided to give it a try, knowing that I would be supported. 

I am always in awe of the powerful words that other people share at the readings. I have been moved to tears more than once in that space: hearing recovering addicts come to hard truths about their lives, witnessing someone read a poem out loud for the first time, hearing a new poem by a friend or finding new meaning in poems I’ve heard before. One of my most cherished memories was when my brother and I were asked to be the features for the reading in June 2012.  I will never forget how special it was to stand in the library of my hometown with my oldest brother and pour out my heart for my community. But the thing is, every single monthly reading has been a profound experience because the space allows for people to just be real and raw and true to themselves. It pushes you to be vulnerable in the best way.

The Espanola Poetry Explosion at the Library is evidence that we can truly heal together as a community if we have the space for it, and the right intentions. I am forever grateful for all that I’ve gained by being a part of the readings: the friendships, the shared palabras, the inspiration from some of the fiercest poetas I’ve ever known. Thank you to Adan Baca, Angelo, and all the others who have made it possible! Here’s to many more years!


Andrea Serrano

For years, I felt out of place in the poetry scene in Albuquerque.  While there are a lot of talented poets in Albuquerque and more venues than anyone can keep track of, I never quite felt like I had a community.  In the summer of 2009, I met a group of people who welcomed me into their circle and gave me friendship and my poetry found a home.  In Española, NM, the sun shines bright and hearts are warmed in the resolana that is created by the poets of the Norte.

The Española Poetry Explosion is a gathering of community and friends.  A place where poets can share words and laughs.  There is comfort in the words that are shared, but beyond that, it’s the feeling of the gente who are there.  New poets, seasoned poets, souls in search of healing, lovers and fighters are mixed in with books and history.  As my comadre Pilar Trujillo once remarked, there is something beautiful about reading poetry at a library she grew up in. 

To be welcomed into this space reminds me that there is safety in community, and that community extends beyond county lines and boundaries.  I often call it Speak, Poet’s Sister Event because it feels like familia.  Even if I haven’t been in a while, knowing I can go to an event where so many people find and share voice is an honor and I’m proud to know the poets and organizers of this beautiful venue.    

Española Poetry Explosion is the light that shines through the darkness, the resolana that warms the bones and the familia that is always on your side.  Thank you for the courage to create community in my own city, and congratulations on two beautiful years!


Adán Trujillo

When I walked out of the Española Library in June 2011 after randomly going to a poetry reading that I heard about on Facebook, I had rarely felt so inspired. Going that day changed my life and was one of the best decisions I ever made. Going every month after that (and until the wheels fall off) is a close second. This event stretched me outside my comfort zone, helped me find a voice I didn’t know I had and plugged me in to a community of like-minded people that I am grateful to know and call friends. 

Beata Tsosie-Peña

It has always amazed me, how strongholds of talent, tradition and beauty are so abundant in Northern NM. How the arts scene here has maintained an underground and above ground presence that never tried to fit into mainstream westernization, but has existed more to sustain each other, and echo our multi-versal realities that we have to navigate through daily as Peoples coming from mixed heritage and upbringings. Through art this has been done seamlessly, and I am grateful for its existence within so much breathtaking beauty that also contains so much love of place for the Peoples who live in the Rio Grande Valley.

Española Poetry Explosion is an example of the way we come together as artists to reshape our landscape to hold this space for ourselves. In a time when public spaces are under utilized and scarce, it is so important that we make use of the spaces that do exist to continue to come together. Poetry is a way to share knowledge, shared and individual experience, and tell the collective stories of our time. The oral tradition is strong in this place that anchors our spirit, and it is very clear to me every time I hear blessings of words offered up, in such humble settings, how our poetic intentions are a spiritual bridge.

I am grateful for those in our communities who take the extra time for rural organizing, knowing the importance and equality of hosting any size of circle, and even more so, for making it a consistent one. I am also grateful for the poets who have been willing to travel far, and lend their voice in the uplifting of our Indigenous atmosphere in Española, reinforcing a creative network that I know has more work ahead. I’m thankful for or all the strength through words that is emerging from such beautiful faces, and that I hope can continue to be a vibrational movement of its own in our Valley.


Here are some post reading collages of the Española Poetry Explosion. The collages aren’t in any particular order. This is part of the Española Poetry family and community. Thank you to all who have and continue to support this great community event every month.








If you’re on Facebook please visit the Poetry at the Library (Española Poetry Explosion) fan page. Also, drop by El Razafotografista and Campana de Esperanza Fotography Fan pages. For biographies of many of the poets whom have featured at the Española Poetry Explosion visit the archive of my blog. Like our pages and support great community events and local businesses!

To all of you who have participated in our family and community of the Española Poetry Explosion please share your reflections on the comment section of this post.