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.
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/
Co director Jan Smith