Charles Simon was the first poet to speak at Manzano Mountain Arts Council’s (MMAC) Imagination as Words community poetry reading on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Prior to sharing his poems, Simon stressed how poetry - and the arts, more generally - is welcoming for all. His poems reflected on both his ancestry’s impact on him and his legacy for others. This was a fitting opening to an event which showed the impact of poetry on young writers, while sharing the reflections of a few older writers, as well.
New Mexico Poet Laureate Lauren Camp explained how she came to poetry without formal instruction, continuing the theme that poetry and the arts are welcoming, without academic or social barriers. Camp read two poems to the audience of roughly fifty attendees, including one that touched on the problem of insomnia.
Following Simon and Camp, local poets, including Davine Torres, Tamra Hays, and Deb Vetterman, shared their work. Some shared traditional poems regarding confronting age and appearance, others love poems, and some shared their poems on grief. Despite the challenge of stage fright, a total of six local poets shared with the crowd, surrounded by photography and paintings from MMAC’s upcoming exhibition Chasing the Light. (Chasing the Light formally opens on Saturday, April 15, 2023, with a reception that begins at 12:00 PM and a lecture on Hopi culture and traditions at 2:00 PM.) Details regarding other MMAC events and art shows can be found at the MMAC website.