Books

New Taos poet laureate steps into the limelight

Society of the Muse of the Southwest literary dinner honors Catherine Strisik

By Sheila Miller
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 1/2/20

Lovers of poetry will gather Saturday (Jan. 4) at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, 240 Morada Lane, to honor the 2020-22 poet laureate of Taos, Catherine Strisik. The literary dinner will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Books

New Taos poet laureate steps into the limelight

Society of the Muse of the Southwest literary dinner honors Catherine Strisik

Posted

Lovers of poetry will gather Saturday (Jan. 4) at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, 240 Morada Lane, to honor the 2020-22 poet laureate of Taos, Catherine Strisik. The literary dinner will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.

With only 25 seats in the Mabel Dodge Luhan historic dining room, attendees are sure to enjoy the intimate size of the gathering. After the dinner, Strisik "will read from recent works and share her project, 'Poetry in Nature,' entailing installation of nature poems on stones, walls and pillars in natural environment locations in Taos written by living poets of Taos County," according to an announcement from the Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS), host of the dinner.

Dinner will be prepared by Mabel Dodge Luhan House Executive Chef Sophia Vigil and her staff, and proceeds from SOMOS' share of the $75 ticket price will support the poet laureate project.

Strisik is the author of three collections of poetry and a manuscript-in-progress, "Aikaterína."

Strisik's second book of poetry, "The Mistress," published by 3: A Taos Press in 2016, won the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Poetry in 2017, and one of the poems from this volume was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her first book, "Thousand-Cricket Song," published in 2010 by Plain View Press, and described on the 3: A Taos Press website as "a poetic response to the genocide and healing in Cambodia," issued a second printing in 2016.

Strisik is co-founder and consulting editor of Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art (taosjournalofpoetry.com), and her numerous publications include pieces in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Drunken Boat, Puerto del Sol, Watershed, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Tusculum Review and Poet Lore.

Her most recent book, "Insectum Gravitis" (Main Street Rag, 2019), anticipates the poetry project she has chosen for her time as poet laureate, "Poetry in Nature." One might expect a certain somber tone, but dignity ought not to be fully conflated with seriousness. Strisik invites people to read the book "just because you love poetry, insects, humanity and simple complexity."

In a review, poet and critic Fred Marchant suggests that, in addition to exploring the dignity of insects themselves, Strisik's volume "shows us how the infinitely varied dance of love and desire is a fundamental source of the dignity to be found and cherished in you and me and every living thing."

Poet Robert Okaji writes: "'Insectum Gravitis' is haunted by the missing, by the spaces between, by anticipation and longing, the subtleties of transparency and the dangers of allowing intimacy into our lives. An intensely human, deeply emotional view weaves through this collection ostensibly focusing on invertebrates. Catherine Strisik's language is stark, compelling. It resonates with wonder and variety, and inevitably leads us from the immediate to the beyond. This is a gorgeous, powerful collection. It will lift you."

All people seek to understand this "dance of love and desire" and search for ferries "from the immediate to the beyond." To offer such insight and such transportation is, perhaps, what poetry is "for."

Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, explores the question of what poetry does in his essay "The Redress of Poetry." There, Heaney presents poetry as an imaginative tool for lifting our vision above the unsolvable riddle of lived experience. While poetry does not change what has passed, it does construct a way forward.

Elsewhere, Marchant addresses directly the ways in which Strisik's second volume, "The Mistress," "generated a poetry that served as a comeback and counterweight to the unacceptable realities [the poet] faced."

In it, Strisik recasts Parkinson's, the disease afflicting her beloved husband, Larry Schreiber, as a mistress. This metaphorical shift allows her to explore a full range of emotion and embodied experience, and illustrates to readers one path along which they might be allowed an array of emotions.

The judges who selected the current poet laureate of Taos are listed on the SOMOS webpage: Town Council member Darien Fernandez, artist and teacher Bernadette Track, Taos Art Museum-Fechin House Director Christy Schoedinger Coleman and town of Taos Public Library Director Kate Alderete.

Comments

Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.