Books

Late Taos poet Peter Rabbit's 'Cabeza de Vaca' epic poem released

Book launch of epic poem will include a reading by Anne MacNaughton

By Tempo staff
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/13/19

"An epic poem is a long, narrative poem that is usually about heroic deeds and events that are significant to the culture of the poet. Many ancient writers used epic poetry to tell tales of intense adventures and heroic feats."

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Books

Late Taos poet Peter Rabbit's 'Cabeza de Vaca' epic poem released

Book launch of epic poem will include a reading by Anne MacNaughton

Posted

"An epic poem is a long, narrative poem that is usually about heroic deeds and events that are significant to the culture of the poet. Many ancient writers used epic poetry to tell tales of intense adventures and heroic feats."

That definition from study.com certainly applies to the late Taos poet Peter Rabbit's "Cabeza de Vaca," due for release at a reception and reading planned Saturday (Dec. 14), 6 p.m., at SOMOS, 108 Civic Plaza Drive. Admission is free.

Excerpts from the poem by Peter Rabbit (née Douthit) will be read by its editor Anne MacNaughton, who was married to him. The poem is published in paperback book form by Crescent Press, Taos' newest publisher. Copies will be for sale at the book launch event.

The book also includes a preface by MacNaughton, a foreword by the late author, and commentary by the author's close associate, award-winning writer Terry Bisson.

Poet, author and performer Peter Rabbit (1936-2012) was born in the oil region of Pennsylvania at the end of the Great Depression. He attended school in Owensboro, Kentucky and numerous colleges including Black Mountain College where he studied with Charles Olson.

Writing and performing since his teens, in the 1960s Rabbit co-founded Drop City, the Southwest’s first commune as well as Libre, another commune in Colorado’s Huerfano Valley. Along with his wife, Anne MacNaughton, he founded the famed Taos Poetry Circus, SOMOS (Society of the Muse of the Southwest, a literary organization) and the World Poetry Bout Association. Rabbit authored six books of poetry and nonfiction, including the underground classic, "Drop City."

In this new book, Rabbit explores the indigenous healing practices and world view that put Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca’s peripatetic adventure at odds with the 16th century rulers of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Informed by the author's personal relationship with and participation in the 1960s psychedelic revolution as well as by decades as a respected peyote road man and years cultivating high altitude cannabis indica, the work ─ told in the voices of six characters, including that of the author himself ─ presents an interplay between the factual and the imaginary, disquisition and dialogue, peroration and prayer, according to MacNaughton in a press release.

"Cabeza de Vaca: an Epic Poem," published posthumously as the author's seventh book. It is also available from Amazon.com.

For more information, call the venue at (575) 758-0081. For more on the book, contact MacNaughton at annelynnmac@hotmail.com.

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