Bonnie Buckley Maldonado
was introduced as Silver City's first ever poet laureate during Tuesday's
Town Council meeting, where she
poem Short Shorts and Mustard Weed.
---- The already vibrant local art scene got a little more colorful this week when Silver City's first ever poet laureate was introduced at Tuesday's
Town Council meeting.
Bonnie Buckley Maldonado, who has lived in Silver City for 52 years, was selected by a seven-member committee to fill the two-year ceremonial position, in which she'll write numerous poems that represent the area's character as well as be responsible for implementing a community education program that emphasizes poetry and writing.
"I was both delighted and surprised to be selected," said Maldonado
"I love poetry, it's truly my passion at this point."
joins two other poet laureates in New Mexico --- one in Santa Fe and another in Albuquerque, who is being inducted today.
As the only poet laureate from the southwestern part of the state, Maldonado
hopes to create poetry that can be distinguished from that of her
northern counterparts, just like the region.
"The area"s different than northern New Mexico," Maldonado
"I think the population here is very different.
Because of the emphasis on the mines, I think the mining and ranching communities here created cultures unto themselves.
Also, there's the close proximity to Mexico."
Maldonado, who used to be a professor and a dean at WNMU before she retired, said her poetry is free verse and tends to follow a narrative, usually one that focuses on those historical themes relevant to the Grant County community, like minorities, ranchers, miners and blue-collar workers.
"I think that diversity is part of what makes writing about this area so fascinating," she
ability to capture the area's spirit to her
sense of place --- "of being able to be into where I am, to focus on it, to reflect it," and also her
upbringing in Montana, which she
said was similar to life in Southwestern New Mexico, particularly in regard to the solitude.
Maldonado's plans as far as the community education program involve workshops maybe through the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning
that focus on poetry appreciation and giving people who would like to try poetry, but never have, the opportunity to do so.
She said her 30 years of experience in education, including being a professor of education and psychology at WNMU, will come in handy with the workshops, which she hopes will encourage those who don't have poetry experience to give it a try.
"That's a big part of my goal," Maldonado
"To create venues to invite people who wouldn't normally go to poetry events."
The committee in charge of selecting a poet laureate chose Maldonado
out of three final nominees, citing her
familiarity with Silver City
numerous published works as the reason for her
has written four books, including "From the Marias River to the North Pole," "Montana, Too," "It's Only Raven Laughing" and "Too Personal for Words," and as been published in various anthologies, most notably in "Montana Women Writers: Geography of the Heart," which won the Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2007.
The poets are Sharon Barr, Larry Godfrey, Maldonado
, Tom McCoy, Sandy McKinney and Elise Stuart and the artists featured are Dorothy McCray, Christine Sandifur, Patrick Archer, Elvira Godfrey, Ouida Touchon and Joseph Wade Jr.
By Bonnie Buckley Maldonado, Silver City Poet Laureate