malpais review | new mexico centennial issue | vol.3 no.2 autumn 2012

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The Fall 2012 issue of the Malpaís Review features the work of the following poets:

Levi Romero, V. B. Price on Chaco Canyon, Villagrá’s Renaissance Epic, Salt of the Earth & The Living Batch Bookstores, Peter Rabbit (Douthit). Mini-Anthology of SFIS poets: edited by Tim McLaughlin. Mini-Features: Juan Estevan Arellano, John Brandi, Bill Nevens. Other poets included in this issue are: H. Marie Aragón, Cathy Arellano, Hakim Bellamy, Gary L. Brower, Dee Cohen, Esther Feske, Doris Fields, James M. Gay, Jr., Larry Goodell, Renée Gregorio, Kenneth P. Gurney, Dale Harris, Enrique LaMadrid, Jane Lipman, Joan Logghe, Argos MacCallum, John Macker, Amalio Madueño, E. A. “Tony” Mares, Dwayne Martine, Kendall McCook, Karen McKinnon, Rudy J. Miera, Stanley Noyes, Sara Marie Ortiz, Simon Ortiz, Marmika Paskiewicz, Margaret Randall, Mitch Rayes, Jeana Rodarte-Romero, Olivia Ramona Romo, Georgia Santa Maria, Andrea J. Serrano, Marilyn Stablein, Sandra VAllie, Richard Vargas, Stewart Warren, Lawrence Welsch.

Editor’s Note

“…every human reality, being temporal, is also
historical…The poets tell us of the rather strange
moment in history in which we are caught.”
– M. Heidegger.

This is the first time we have created a “theme issue” of MR, and perhaps the last, as I prefer a variety of texts in each issue. But this special number of MR is for the statehood centennial of New Mexico (1912-2012), which, with Arizona, were the last territories to enter the Union until Alaska and Hawaii in the 1950s. There were several reasons for this lateness: the poverty of the region; the fact that a majority of the territory’s populace was Hispanic and Native American; conflicts into the early 20th Century between some indigenous groups and the U.S. Cavalry that was trying to control them; “Anglo” (English-speaking, no matter their country of origin) power brokers who had arrived to take advantage of any and every thing that might bring them money and assure their hegemony; Anglos denying land rights and encroaching on Native land even after the creation of Indian reservations; Anglos undermining Hispanic land grants agreed to under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo; water scarcity and limited arable land; and the small number of inhabitants. New Mexico was a part of the Mexican Cession, forced on Mexico after the imperialist Mexican War (1846-47) to steal land, based on the desire of Southern slavers to create more slave states (championed by President James K. Polk), Texans who wanted to steal Tejas, and the outrageous & ludicrous premise of Manifest Destiny used to “sell” the war to the American public, which essentially said “God gave us the right to steal other people’s land because we Americans are favored by the deity.” It was, in other words, a divinely-sanctioned land grab. But then the earlier Spanish colonists had been bolstered by similar beliefs. Both groups, interested in gaining power, wealth, and land, superficially pretended to have benevolent motivation by using religious excuses. (The later Anglo theft of Hawaii from its people is another example.) Whether it’s personal or national, the origin of greed makes no difference to those who are the victims. Today, of course, we have those in the U.S. who believe in “American Exceptionalism,” which is a stepchild of Manifest Destiny, or perhaps simply another form of it.

New Mexico’s history is about one European group, the Spanish, arriving to forcibly wrench the area from its native inhabitants, only to be thrown out by them in 1680 for 12 years. Later, another European-origin group, the Anglo-Americans, arrived to do the same thing to both groups already established here. In this issue of MR, I have included texts that reflect some of what has happened from that early period to the current situation. That is, I have brought together some of the history of our state through poetry and essay as a reflection of the multi-cultural nature of this place and the changes that have occurred over the centuries. History never leaves us, it is only forgotten from time to time, and when it is forgotten, bad things happen because we forget where we came from and the lessons of the Past. Perhaps this issue of MR could be, if nothing else, a reminder of those past events that have been important here and, for better or for worse, should be remembered.

This entire issue of MR brings the relationship of Poetry to History into focus in many of the texts and images we have selected. I don’t mean only “literary history” but also socio-economic-political History itself. For example, the 1598 siege of Acoma by the Juan de Onate expedition, and other events, are the focus of the 1610 epic poem by Caspar Perez de Villagra, Historia de la Nueva Mexico. Other topics include: the acequia system of irrigation used for dry-farming in an arid country (still in use); the founding of an all-black town near Roswell; the U.S. Civil War in the state; the Hispanic ballad tradition of folk poetry; the many pueblos that once existed of which only 19 are left; the Lincoln County War and Billy the Kid; Albuquerque bookstores that fostered poetry; New Mexico’s multilingual multi-culture, where English, two dialects of Spanish, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa, Keres, Zuni, and Athabascan languages (of the Dine/Navajo and two Apache tribes) are spoken. The diversity of the populace, which has been a source of conflict in the past, can hopefully prove a positive force today and in the future, through an appreciation of people of all backgrounds. It is not assimilation, but the co-existence of cultures, in which each joins with the others in a kaleidoscopic reality.

In New Mexico, History is much closer to the surface than in many other places. In fact, History and Myth are present everywhere in the state, from the Native American enclaves to the remains of ancient pueblos like Chaco Canyon; the long-extinct Mimbres culture of southern New Mexico that created many designs currently used by Pueblo artists; the ruins of the Gila, Bandelier/Frijoles Canyon, Pecos and Kuaua (Bernalillo) pueblos which draw thousands of visitors annually; old Anglo forts like Ft. Union; ancient Hispanic towns like Taos, Trampas, and Truchas; the Albuquerque Old Town area with a plaza and historic church; ghost towns like Old Hachita. Also, Nature expresses itself in richly varied topography, high altitude, and amazing skies. The synthesis of these factors make New Mexico unique in the nation and the world, and it attracts many artists to the state.

Of course, art has come out of New Mexico in all genres, starting with petroglyphs & pictographs; songs/dances/rituals of indigenous communities, the Villagra epic poem of 1610; Hispanic traditions of folk ballads; the Matachines dances at Bernalillo and Kewa/Santo Domingo Pueblo; the Crown Point Dine/Navajo rug auction; old Indian trading posts; the novel Ben Hur by Union General and Territorial Governor Lew Wallace; the Taos School of painters; the old mining town of Madrid now full of artists; Mabel Dodge Lujan’s many guests in Taos; novelist D.H. Lawrence; Taos wood sculptor Patrocinio Barela; Georgia O’Keeffe in Abiquiu; Navajo painter R.C. German in Taos; visual artist Peter Hurd; the Taos Poetry Circus; Albuquerque artist Edward Gonzalez; the Chicano literary renaissance at Embudo; excellent prose writers: Rudolfo Anaya, N. Scott Momaday, Sabine Ulibarri, Tony Hillerman, Cormac McCarthy, Kate Horsley, Fray Angelico Chavez, John Nichols; and many excellent poets who have lived here: Keith Wilson, Gene Frumkin, Robert Creeley, Ed Dorn, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Kell Robertson, Todd Moore, Joy Harp, Arthur Sze, and the poets in this issue as well as all the members of the MR board. There has been a decades-long poetry “renaissance” in the state, most recently with three poetry publications in Albuquerque (sadly, Adobe Walls folded, an excellent poetry journal edited by Ken Gurney); one in Santa Fe, New Mexico Poetry Review; and one in Las Cruces, Sin Fronteras, published annually.

I have met poets who have moved here because of a vibrancy to the “poetry scene.” For a state with a small population within a large land area (and more than a third of the people live in Albuquerque metro), we have a disproportionate amount of art created here. Art is a part of our existence here, part of our daily life. You can travel the state, passing through small towns, and find art galleries and artists living there. The traditions of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures are strong in themselves, as well as in combination.

A question we needed to face with this issue: should the statehood centennial be celebrated at all? Should we have published an issue of MR dedicated to that event or not? It is true that for the indigenous population of this region, the arrivals of Columbus and the Spanish were not positive events. For both the Hispanic and indigenous populations, the arrival of the Anglo-Americans was not a positive event. I decided to do this special issue because I think of it as an opportunity to celebrate the present synthesis of artistic creation in the state in the context of the historical drama and cultural diversity.

New Mexico and its poets are represented in every issue of MR, but this issue is an opportunity to focus specifically on the state. I have added footnotes and some translatons for readers and subscribers who do not live in New Mexico (which is officially bilingual) so you can better appreciate these works. I ask forgiveness and indulgence from local writers, and request that they understand that I am trying to make this issue of MR amenable to readers beyond the Land of Enchantment. And one poem has been left in Spanish without translation, at the request of the author, to give cultural variety. It is my hope that the features and poems create some sort of positive homage to the state, a view of its history that doesn’t pull any punches.

I want to thank all of the poets in this issue and those who created the features or cooperated in their creation. My thanks go out to Levi Romero, the New Mexico State Centennial Poet, one of our best poets and readers, who encompasses not only his past, and that of his native area of the state (Embudo, Velarde, Dixon, Taos), but the multicultural nature of the state with the mixture of two languages in his work. Besides being a poet, he is an architect, and a professor of both at UNM. It is a perfect fit for Levi, the Centennial Poet, to be the featured poet for this special Centennial issue. And my thanks to Tim McLaughlin, the poetry coach/teacher for the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS) slam poetry team, which achieved fame recently in national competitions, a book, and a film. I am delighted by the excellent introduction by McLaughlin and the quality of the poems. When we remember the wonderful Native American poets from the Southwest, we see that these young writers continue the high standard of that literary tradition. They must never abandon their voices.

I thank our Art Director, writer, and visual artist Marilyn Stablein, for her very creative front cover for this issue. When I first saw it, I immediately thought it would be good for this issue, since besides being a metaphor itself (“How Time Flies” is the title), it also reminds us of the incredible Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every October. Between 800,000 and a million people travel here each year for the event. I also thank Lawrence Welsh for his essay on V.B. Price, one of the state’s well-known poets, and Price’s willingness to be featured in this issue, as well as his permission to reprint a part of his Chaco Trilogy. This does two good things at once: brings attention to Price’s poetry and underlines the beauty and historical importance of Chaco Canyon National Monument. In its own way, Chaco Canyon, with its many ancient Puebloan ruins (including the first skyscraper on the continent, a four-story apartment building), is comparable to the ruins of indigenous empires in Mexico and South America, and Mound-builders of the American Midwest. I also want to thank Margaret Randall for her wonderful photos of Chaco. Like Acoma, Chaco Canyon is one of those special places that must be visited. (For more information see The Chaco Handbook by R. Gwinn Vivian & Bruce Hilpert, Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 2002.)

Thanks are also in order for Enrique LaMadrid, Professor and Chairman of the UNM Spanish Department, for his excellent essay on the Spanish ballad (corrida, romance) tradition which came into New Mexico from Spain and Mexico. Dr. LaMadrid, a renown specialist on Hispanic folklore and literature, has published a huge amount on the Hispanic culture of this state. He shows that a traditional folk-poetry form is still very much alive. I thank Margaret Randall and Larry Goodell for their features on the two bookstores which provided Albuquerque with quality books and a series of excellent poetry readings: Salt of the Earth and Living Batch bookstores. By hosting these poetry series, the stores were extremely important in fostering the poetry community in the city and state. They are a part of the literary history of this area. I want to thank Ken Gurney for the introduction and poem about the Battle of Glorieta Pass and the Civil War in New Mexico.

Thanks to Simon Ortiz for permission to use his poems from Joe Sando’s book, Po’Pay, for the segment on the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. And finally, thank you to Amalio Madueno for his excellent essay on the Taos Poetry Circus and Peter Rabbit, and to Peter’s widow, poet Anne McNaughton, for permission to use Peter’s poems with his memorial feature. He was one of the founders of the Taos Poetry Circus and an important presence in the Taos poetry/literary/music scene for many years, and we lament his passing. Tribute readings were held recently to honor Peter in Albuquerque at the Low Spirits Bar and in Taos.

I want to mention a just-published chapbook from John Brandi’s Tooth of Time Press, My Half-Wild West by Stanley Noyes, a writer whose prose and poetry I have greatly appreciated. We published Stanley’s work previously, and I include one of the poems from his new chapbook, with thanks, in honor of his excellent writing career.

Now, two negative items. First, I have just heard of the death of the great musician Ravi Shankar, age 92, who has left us even more music through two daughters, American singer/songwriter Norah Jones and Anouska, who will continue his work on the sitar. May the reverberation at raga’s end, of Ravi Shankar’s beautiful music, echo through the centuries. Second: news has arrived of the arrest and imprisonment for life of a major Qatari poet, Mohamed Al-Ajami, for two poems the Police have said attack the Emir of that nation. The poet explained that they did not attack the Emir, but the Police (always so knowledgeable about literature) insisted on an interpretation they made up contrary to the texts. Anyone in Qatar, oddly the home of Al-Jazeera News, who reads Ajami’s poems in public could also be put in prison for life. Protest letters should be sent to the U.S. Ambassador in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Regarding our Summer 2012 issue, I need to clarify two items. First: all but one of the poems by Scott Wannberg were previously unpublished, and the feature instigated a lot of positive comments from readers. Second: in the segment on poet Larry Goodell, the comments by Goodell on Jimmy Santiago Baca’s poetry was actually the other way around, Baca commenting on Goodell’s poetry. This was a slip based on the way I received the text and I didn’t follow up to make sure: mea culpa.

And, finally, readers should know that my poem in this issue, “Nicanor Parra goes to Acoma,” about taking the great Chilean poet (nominated for the Nobel Prize, author of one of New Directions best-selling poetry books, Poems and Anti-Poems), is a true story. It was an honor to have been able to show him some of the historical and beautiful areas of the state. He was stunned and delighted by what he saw, as we are every day. –Gary L. Brower

click the back cover if you are interested in buying this issue…

The Malpaís Review seeks to expand upon New Mexico’s rich and diverse cultural heritage by bringing together poetry, poetry translation, essays on aspects of poetry from writers around the state, the USA and beyond.

The issues will be published quarterly. Each issue will take 10 to 20 pages for one featured writer with the remaining pages open to everyone else. Some interior pages may be used for black and white artwork.

Gary L. Brower, Editor

Subscriptions: $40 for one year (4 issues) postage paid. Single issues: $12 + $3.50 shipping. Make check payable to Gary Brower, Malpaís Review, POB 339, Placitas, NM 87043. The Malpaís Review is a 6×9 hardcopy publication between 120 and 150 pages each issue.

Spring issue: Oct, Nov, Dec
Summer issue: Jan, Feb, Mar
Autumn issue: Apr, May, Jun
Winter issue: Jul, Aug, Sep


Malpaís Review seeks original poems, previously unpublished in North America, written in English. Any topic, but we despise hate inciting and pornographic work. Submit 1 to 5 poems, no limit on length, but once you hit 10 pages call the submission done (unless the submission is a single poem that is longer than 10 pages). Notification of acceptance will take place within 1 month of the closing of a reading period.

One submission per reading period. If your work is accepted into an issue, please let one issue go by before you submit again. In other words, we will publish your work a maximum of twice a year in an effort to keep the voices fresh. No simultaneous submissions.

Essay topics: poetic criticism, history, theory, a specific poet or poem. Essays should be original and previously unpublished in North America. Length may be up to 5000 words.

Translations, both poems & essays, will be considered. Required: permission of the original poet is required along with a copy of the poem in its original language (assumes poet is living and/or copyrights are still in force). We intend to publish both the original poem and the translation if space permits.

Will be invited by the editorial staff for each issue.


1-3 Digital images should be saved as JPG (JPEG), at a resolution of 300 dpi. (make sure you set your email to attach the “actual” image instead of allowing the email program to reduce the image size.) Set images to CYMK. If the image is selected for showing in the interior of the issue, it will be converted to greyscale. Remember that vertical images are easier for us to work with over horizontal images.


Electronic submissions preferred. Please send your poems in the body of an email. Due to the risk of viruses, we will discard, without reading, any poetry or essay submission emails with attachments. If your poems have unusual formatting, note it, and we will ask for an file attachment (such as a pdf, doc, rtf file), if the poem is accepted. In the subject line of the email, please place the words POETRY or ESSAY, a dash, then your name. Example: poetry – JQ Public.

If you do not have access to email, please send hard copy to: Malpaís Review, POB 339, Placitas, NM 87043. Include an SAS Envelope or Postcard for response. Submissions without SAS Envelope or Postcard will be discarded without reading them. Submit ARTWORK in a separate email from poems or essays. Artwork may only be submitted via email.

Include a short, third-person biography with the submission.

Malpaís Review seeks first North American Rights of your work to appear in our hardcopy publication and reserves the right to use your work in a future “best of issue.” Rights revert to author upon publication.

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