SOMOS welcomes new co-directors

David Perez and Mike Thompson

David Perez  and Mike Thompson 

Originally published in Taos News

The literary organization Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) hosted an informal open house on Friday July 25th at 5 p.m. The meet and greet event welcomed the new co-directors Jan Smith and David Perez.

Smith has been the Summer and Winter Writers Series curator for five years. Perez has also been involved with SOMOS for a long time.

“In fact, one of my first jobs in Taos was doing grant writing for SOMOS, around ten years ago,” he said. “This feels like coming home again.”

Smith and Perez talked about the programs offered by SOMOS—the Young Writers Program, the Writers Series, the Storytelling Festival, the Poetry Series, and a variety of workshops.

“Our work is simply about building from what we have and expanding it to new heights,” Perez said. “It’s challenging and I look forward to it.”

The event’s attendees were excited about the new developments.

Mike Thompson says he is “glad to see fresh new thoughts and life coming into the SOMOS arena.”

Actress Tenney Walsh, a youth mentor for over seven years, said, “The mentorship program is a great way to open a door to young talented voices and I look forward to continuing with it.”

Gale Dorion has been attending the Writers Series and the Storytelling Festival since 2000.

“I want to thank SOMOS for offering us some of the finest poetry and writing events in the country,” she said.

Writer Liz Cunningham highlights the fact that SOMOS provides a support community for authors.

“The organization also helps young writers find a voice of their own,” she said. “Rita McElmury was a mentee of Sally Schrup and she is now a reporter at KUNM in Albuquerque. This is a success story that I have personally followed.”

“David and Jan are a wonderful pair of people,” said poet Phyllis Hotch, who served on the Board of SOMOS for 23 years. “And I’m happy to be here today.”

Melanie Gordon looks forward to getting more involved with the Young Writers Program.

“SOMOS is and always has been an amazing venture into the minds of writers and readers,” said Gordon.

Meet and greet event

Engaging the community

The two co-directors plan to focus on developing tighter ties with the community.

“The big question is: how to encourage more people to draw closer to us?” says Perez. “How can we engage more with them and share in the cultural events we offer? One way is to focus on the youth and the schools, whether middle school, high school or UNM. But there might be other ways. Maybe we can organize lectures and events in public places and spaces that belong to local organizations such as the Juan Gonzalez Agricultural Building or the Acequia Association. There are countless possibilities.”

The next Summer Writers Series event is a reading by poets Scott Cairns and Joan Logghe on August 7th at the Harwood Museum of Art, at 7:30 p.m.

For more information about SOMOS visit http://somostaos.org/

Jan Smith

Co director Jan Smith

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About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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