Literary arts

SOMOS debuts 2017 Summer Writers Series

Featured writers are Stanley Crawford and Laura Pritchett

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"Living in rural villages” is the theme for the first SOMOS Summer Writers Series reading planned Wednesday (July 12) at 7 p.m. Location is the SOMOS Salon at 108-B Civic Plaza Drive.

The authors who plan to read from their work are Laura Pritchett and Stanley Crawford.

Pritchett is from Colorado and the author of a collection of short stories, four novels and two nonfiction books. She is the editor of three anthologies.

She plans to read from her latest, titled “The Blue Hour,” which a SOMOS press release describes as “a stunning portrait of a mountain community over the course of one eventful winter. The residents of Blue Moon Mountain form a tight-knit community of those living off the land, stunned by the beauty and isolation all around them. So, when, at the onset of winter, the town veterinarian commits a violent act, the repercussions of that tragedy will be felt all across the mountainside, upending their lives and causing their paths to twist and collide in unexpected ways.”

Pritchett’s work has appeared in The New York Times, O Magazine, Salon, High Country News, The Sun, Brain, Child and many others. She holds a doctorate from Purdue University and teaches around the country.

Crawford is a well-known local author. The writer-farmer from Dixon plans to regale the audience by reading from his eighth novel, “Village,” which is described as “a rollicking ride through a single day in the ill-fated village of San Marcos [that] will leave you reeling with laughter, even as you cringe at the misadventures of the hapless Porter Clapp and his pitiable wife, Steph; the jaundiced Onésimo Moro and his ever-watchful spouse, Isabel; and the rest of Crawford’s riotous cast.

“At this story’s beginning, a meeting notice from the state water agency, posted at the local store, seems to portend an imminent threat to the valley’s precious acequias. But perhaps more ominous — at least to the paranoid Clapp — is the possibility of the outside world meddling with the isolation, blissful or not, of this remote Hispanic plaza town. As the time of the meeting looms, we follow the characters through the day and become immersed in a place unnervingly familiar to anyone who has lived in Northern New Mexico. Crawford spares no one from his acerbic wit and skewering prose, yet there remains an unmistakable affection for the marvelously dysfunctional community and the very faults that he so eloquently parodies.”

Crawford has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowships and a three-year Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award. He has been a writing faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Colorado College.

Singer-songwriter Stephen Houpt will accompany the prose with his voice and the sounds of his steel guitar. Houpt hails from Dallas, Texas, but spends his summers in Taos playing at local venues. He has released three albums of his original songs and poems. The latest two are “Sweet Green Mystery” and “Just This Moment.” Many of the lyrics have been adapted from Tang and Sung dynast Chinese poems from which he has been inspired, according to the press release.

The Summer Writers Series continues through Aug. 16 with readings by writers such as Davida Singer, John Nichols, Natalie Goldberg, Demetria Martínez, Santee Frazier, James McGrath Morris, Lorraine Lener Ciancio, Devid Bedrick, Iris Keltz and David Pérez.

Tickets to the Wednesday event at the SOMOS Salon are $8, $5 for SOMOS members. For a full schedule of the 2017 Summer Writers Series, visit somostaos.org or call (575) 758-0081.

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