SOMOS in Taos starts Poetry Month with marathon reading of Homer's 'Odyssey'

By Tempo staff
Posted 3/26/19

In celebration of National Poetry Month each April, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) begins a four-week series of events with a free two-day marathon reading of Homer's epic …

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SOMOS in Taos starts Poetry Month with marathon reading of Homer's 'Odyssey'

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In celebration of National Poetry Month each April, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) begins a four-week series of events with a two-day marathon reading of Homer's epic Greek poem "The Odyssey." The reading is set to begin with an introduction on Saturday (March 30), 12:30 p.m., at SOMOS, 108 Civic Plaza Drive, in Taos.

Also featured this week is a reading by Catherine Strisik and Colette LaBouff. In addition, an ekphrastic poetry project will be seen and heard around town. Taos writer and poet Ariana Kramer is curating the month's events.

"The Odyssey" will be read Saturday through 7 p.m. Then, Sunday (March 31), readers will pick up from 1-7 p.m., also at SOMOS. Scholars believe the poem, a written text based on an oral tradition, was composed in the 8th or 7th century BCE, making it the second-oldest work of Western literature that is still in existence. The oldest is "The Iliad," also composed by Homer, and a prequel to "The Odyssey." Twenty-four people have signed up to read the epic for the Taos community reading. This is a free event, with donations greatly appreciated.

"We invite the public to come and listen to all, or to any part, of this informal community reading," event organizer Ariana Kramer said.

The reading will be Emily Wilson's 2017 translation of "The Odyssey," which is the first English translation of the epic poem published by a woman. Originally from England, Wilson is professor of classical studies and graduate chair of the Comparative Literature & Literary Theory program at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I chose Dr. Wilson's translation because it is fresh and clean with a quickness to its storytelling. Her translation uses iambic pentameter, and it works beautifully. Also, she is a living scholar. I wrote to Dr. Wilson and she is excited that we are having this reading," Kramer said.

"Poetry & Art in Public Places" is a collaboration of SOMOS and the Taos Arts Council. During April, coffee shops, town facilities, art galleries and other public places will display poems written by Taos poets in response to 2019 Taos Banner Art. The poems will be read (one per show) as a preview to the TCA's (Taos Center for the Arts) April movies.

On Tuesday, April 2, at 7 p.m., Catherine Strisik and Colette LaBouff read their poetry at SOMOS. The event is free.

Catherine Strisik is the author of "The Mistress" (2016, 3: A Taos Press) selected for the 2017 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award in Poetry; "Thousand-Cricket Song" (2010; 2016); and the chapbook "Insectum Gravitis" (forthcoming). She teaches poetry workshops locally and when called, elsewhere. In 2012 she co-founded and co-edits the internationally acclaimed online journal Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art in order to bring together the voices of poets from around the globe. She is a Pushcart nominee and translated into Greek and Arabic.

Colette LaBouff was associate director and acting director of the International Center for Writing and Translation in the School of Humanities at University of California-Irvine for 10 years. She has taught poetry and creative writing at UC-Irvine, Pitzer College, Loyola Marymount University and Irvine Valley College. She holds a Ph.D. in English from UC-Irvine and an MFA, as well. She is the author of "Mean" (U. of Chicago Press, 2008), a book of prose poems and "Holdings," a text-object forthcoming from Container Press. She curates a weekly poetry and image feature at Zocalo Public Square. She moved to Taos in 2018, serves on the SOMOS Board of Directors and is executive director of the Taos Center for the Arts.

SOMOS is located at 108 Civic Plaza Drive. For more information, and the full schedule of National Poetry Month events, call (575) 758-0081 or visit somostaos.org.

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