Literary Mama

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 8.54.55 AM.pngIn the end-of-the-school year rush, I forgot to send out some good news! My poem “Twin Birth” has been published in Literary Mama. Feel free to stroll on over and take a peek.

What good news have you forgotten to share?

 

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Prosody

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 5.58.15 AMHave a long commute? Puttering around the house with nothing to do? Well, I may have the perfect thing for you to listen to!

When I was in Pittsburgh for the Patricia Dobler Award reading, I was interviewed by Jan Beatty for Prosody, a regularly scheduled program that features contemporary poets. It’s been aired for over twenty-two years, and other poets interviewed include Eavan Boland, Sandra Cisneros, Nikki Giovanni, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dorianne Laux, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Ted Kooser, among many, many more. Look in the archives to find me.

When have you been listened to lately?

 

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Dobler Award (Part II)

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Sometimes, you get to live in a dream for just a few days. Two weeks have already passed since attending my reading for the Patricia Dobler Award at Carlow University, but that’s exactly how I felt while I was in Pittsburgh. People were amazingly friendly, and I got the chance to hang out with Allison Hedge Coke and Jan Beatty, who are fantastic!

Besides numerous meals and being the opening act for Allison, one of the highlights was an interview on the show Prosady. It might take another week or two for my reading to air and reach the archives, but I’ll be sure to post for those who might want to listen.

When have you lived in a dream while being wide awake?

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Read Harder 2017

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If you missed the 2016 challenge, you’re in luck. A brand new year brings with it a brand new list of topics for you to choose from Bookriot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge. This year’s list of topics doesn’t challenge me as much as last year’s list, but I’m excited to jump into some books I might have procrastinated reading.

There’s still plenty of time to join me. Like last year, I’ll share my list at the end of the year. Hopefully, it will be completely full!

What books challenge you?

 

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And the Winner Is. . .

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Last fall, a friend encouraged me to send off my work to a contest I’d found. I’ve entered other contests, and I’ve even been a finalist for a couple. But in December, the organizers of the Patricia Dobler Poetry Award called to tell me I had won!

The prize is $1000 and a trip to Pittsburgh to read with Allison Hedge Coke, the judge who picked the winning poem. Even though it happened almost two months ago, I can still hardly believe it!

What have you won lately?

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Get Up, Stand Up

The boys and I spent our MLK day off designing and creating our posters for the Women’s Rally here in town tomorrow. After hours of work, our signs are finally completed!!! We’re excited to join other people in supporting the vast interests contained in the Women’s March on Washington. It’s amazing to see the wide range of groups band together to demonstrate solidarity with each other’s causes.

My decision to join the Women’s Rally wasn’t a light decision. I realized after my eight-year-old sons were upset with the outcome of the election—where a candidate was chosen who they say, “is so mean to women and name calls people when he doesn’t agree with them”—that I had to teach them peaceful ways to express their disapproval.

You may be reading this thinking I’m not supporting the government, or I’m being unreasonable, or possibly the worst insult to you—I’m acting un-American, but the First Amendment shows otherwise: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Bill of Rights gives us this important freedom, and I’m using my right to protest as an act of love for my country, an act of love for my friends and family, and an act of love for those targeted by hate.

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If you’re in town on Saturday, come join us. If you’re not, there are bound to be other rallies and marches in your neck of the woods.

What causes will you support tomorrow and into the future?

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505-476-2200

 

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Recently, Governor Martinez decided that in order to balance the budget, she would cut the salaries of teachers and state workers. She doesn’t call it a pay cut; she calls it “pension pay swap,” but it’s clearly a pay cut. She stated the budget will send “a clear and strong message: it’s up to state government to tighten its belt, not New Mexico families.” Does she not realize these are the middle class workers of New Mexico? That the loss of salary will hurt a large percentage of New Mexico families?

This is worrisome in a state where under her “leadership” we’ve fallen to the bottom of the nation in education—which is not a reflection on teachers. It’s a reflection of poor decision making by implementing PARCC, which doesn’t actually assist students, but fills the coffers of corporations. How many other corporations have taken the money our school districts could have used to improve their schools, to buy textbooks, to add educational assistants, and numerous other ideas? If we want teachers to stay in the state, we should be increasing teacher salaries, not cutting them.

For example, we’re 2nd in the United States for teacher turnover rate. In my district alone, there are 219 job openings as of this morning—it’s half way through the year! Many of our brightest upcoming educators are either leaving the profession (50% don’t teach past 5 years—a common statistic) or are leaving to teach in other states.

When I worked on my National Boards, I attended an informational meeting. About eight of us were grouped together, and almost all of the other teachers were in their late 20’s. The leader asked us to explain to our group why we wanted to earn the National Boards. Here were some of the most dedicated teachers, wanting to improve their skills, working long hours on an arduous program. 6 out of the 8 said they planned to move out of the state for higher paying jobs and didn’t want to hassle with the new state’s paperwork and possible coursework.

If we cut salaries, we’ll see even more teachers leave the state, which leaves unmanageable classroom sizes for the teachers who stay. It means students are put last, again, and teachers will eventually be blamed for why the ridiculous test scores haven’t improved.

It’s not right, especially when corporations are getting tax breaks so their owners can own an even bigger mansion, can have even more amazing vacation homes, and can send their children to fancy private schools that only have 12 students per class.

Call the governor’s office today at 505-476-2200 and tell her that cutting teacher salaries is not the way a responsible Governor balances the budget.

Who have you called today?

 

*quote taken from Santa Fe New Mexican http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/governor-s-b-budget-proposal-calls-for-more-belt-tightening/article_4e8ee6e5-0554-576b-9c6c-4d2fe157ba60.html

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