Annie Proulx at UNM (Feb. 7, 2011)

February 3, 2011

Another cooperative event with Bookworks, one of Albuquerque’s favorite independent bookstores:

Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Brokeback Mountain” portrays her flawed paradise in the majestic, hardscrabble West in the vibrant memoirBird Cloud (Scribner, $26.00). This is part of the new ABQ literary lecture series Readings on the Rio Grande, presented by Bookworks and ABC libraries.

Monday, February 7, 7pm

Woodward Hall (on UNM’s main campus)

Free and open to the public

Proulx meshes her story with natural history and the history of Wyoming, a tale of exploitation; horrendous crimes against Native Americans; and the mad massacring of eagles, elks, bison, and wolves. Partenvironmental history, part meditation on the importance of home, and part glimpse into a writer’s process, this is a rare, remarkable foray into nonfiction by an award-winning Western writer.

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range.Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. She now lives in Albuquerque, NM


Louise Gluck Reading

February 3, 2011

Prize winning author Louise Gluck will be reading at UNM’s Domenici Auditorium (north campus):

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm


Gluck is considered by many to be one of  America’s most talented poets.  Just a few of her accomplishments:

  • Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry
  • PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction
  • Pulitzer Prize
  • Bollingen Prize
  • Lannan Literary Award for Poetry
  • Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize
  • MIT Anniversary Medal
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
  • Wallace Stevens Award

Read more about Louise Gluck over at the Poetry Foundation

With creds like that…  and a host of published books of poetry, this should be a stellar reading.


Fall 2010 Best Student Essays Reception

February 3, 2011

Join the staff and featured authors and photographers from the Best Student Essays of Fall 2010:

Friday evening, February 4, from 6PM to 8PM
in the Willard Reading Room on the west wing of Zimmerman Library. Refreshments and drinks will be served.

Come celebrate the best writing at UNM! The latest issue of Best Student Essays features topics never before featured in the magazine, including archaeology research on Mayan dental remains, conducted in
Belize, and veteran suicides in New Mexico.


Upcoming Literary Events

January 28, 2011

Thought I’d share my Google Calendar with you….  but discovered I can’t embed javascript in here.

Anyway, here’s the link:


Also, I set up a PAGE on this very site


2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 63 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 251 posts. There were 14 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 13th with 88 views. The most popular post that day was Sage Advice.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogs.unm.edu, ig.gmodules.com, facebook.com, unm.edu, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for dorothy parker, kurt vonnegut, unm creative writing, anne tyler, and unm creative writing blog.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Sage Advice September 2009


Some words from Kurt Vonnegut November 2009


UNM MFA Creative Non-Fiction Students April 2009
1 comment




Passages North, poetry and nonfiction competitions November 2008
1 comment


Melody Gee Interview at The Sycamore Review

December 6, 2010

Check out an interview with Melody Gee, UNM MFA Alumni in poetry, on The Sycamore Review website. 


Melody recently published her first book, Each Crumbling House, with Perugia Press.  The Sycamore Review is the literary magazine of Purdue University.


Lena Todd 2010 Award winners announced

December 6, 2010

UNM’s creative writing program congratulates the winners of the 2010 Lena Todd Awards:

FICTION: judged by Laurel Coffey
1st place: “Independence Day” by Johanna Byrn-Orand
2nd place: “The Birds of Italy” by Jean-Louise Zancanella
Honorable Mention: “Pink Elephants” by Matthew Skeets

Laurel wrote that first place “should be awarded to
‘Independence Day’ and its author. Hands down. I found
this story sophisticated, thoughtful, and funny in a witty
and quirky way. From the very start, I completely trusted
the capabilities of this narrator (and author) to take me
through the story. It was carefully plotted. Its
characterizations were unique and engaging. The author
wisely chose each detail to further his/her plot and never
distract from it. This is the type of short story that
deals with the intricacies of familial rites of passage I
would personally elect to purchase and read in a
collection or journal.”

About “The Birds of Italy,” she wrote, “I commend the
author’s ambitiousness in writing a short story that spans
close to the entire lifetime of a character. A pleasant
read, ‘The Birds of Italy’ is stocked with historically
and culturally appropriate details.”

Laurel also offered praise to “Pink Elephants” by Matthew

POETRY: judged by Bonnie Altamirano
1. “The Ringmaster’s Apology” by Johanna Byrn-Orand
2. “Letter 30” by Annie Seigel

Bonnie wrote, “My pick for first prize is the poem, ‘The
Ringmaster’s Apology.’ I was struck by the overall
tightness of form and vibrant content. Upon explication
one finds wonderfully executed line breaks such as ‘We
understand that these average limbs, these/ smooth
chins…'(13-14); and delicate manipulations of craft,
such as the rephrasing that occurs on lines 36-37, ‘Like
all things hover and rise, like you hover/and rise at our
shoulders.’ This poem is full of fresh and memorable
images: ‘lilac wives’,’mustache wax,/the sour kissing
smack of hard candy’, and my favorite, the alliterative
punch, ‘Our bearded lady vanished,/muttering murder, into
the moonlit trainyard'(11-12). I remembered this poem long
after it was read and consider it something I would expect
to see in a graduate-level workshop.
“My pick for second prize is the poem ‘Letter 30.’ I
love the idea of a poem posed as a letter to a person
whose identity is unknown; and then furthering the mystery
by defining and redefining the subject in lyric lines that
gracefully side-step the intellect. The strong and playful
tone is sustained throughout the piece and can be
characterized by humorous lines such as ‘King N has built
as his own monument,/a temple of limestone/to his father,
the God X, in the town of Y'(3-5). Lyric lines of
mysterious beauty propel tension and keep the reader
intrigued. My favorite line ‘The image of limbs make
love/in a field'(19-20).” She added that she found the
poem “wonderfully paced and intoned.”

NONFICTION: judged by Ty Bannerman
1. “Nor Cruel and Unusual Punishments Inflicted” by
Michael Gay
2. “In Passing” by Jaclyn McAlester

Ty wrote of “Nor Cruel and Unusual Punishments Inflicted,” “The author does an excellent job of balancing a discussion of societal and legal treatment of mental illness with a moving account of his own brother’s experience with schizophrenia. The piece is informative, deeply personal and very well written.”

Of “In Passing,” he wrote, “This piece offers a meditation on the meaning of death in a compartmentalized society, illustrated by the author’s experience as worker in a nursing home. The essay effectively communicates the tension between the needs for a nursing home staff to emotionally detach from their clients in order to efficiently perform their duties, and the author’s need to make a personal connection with a woman with dementia who is undergoing a difficult and frightening ordeal as she nears death.”

I’d like to congratulate the winners and thank all the writers and their teachers who contributed to the contest and to recognize the judges for their work as well. I’ll be working with Works in Progress coordinator Melanie Unruh to arrange a reading next semester for the winners. Winners, you’ll be hearing from me about this! Congratulations again!

Marisa P. Clark