Contributor BIOS

at long last.....

BIOS of Artists and Writers
(scroll down)

two volumes of beautiful artwork, stories. Vol. 1. black/white, Vol. 2 full color

(collected a decade ago, published in 2009)


of artists and writers included in these collections... written by the artists, themselves...

(these bios are by order of appearance in the book, not alphabetical...
so scroll down to find yourself, and/or your favorite Taoseno...s/he might be here..)

Lenny Foster          is a photographer.
"My photography career began in 1993 after a trip to the Southwest.  As an amateur photographer, the photographs that I took in Arizona and New Mexico sparked the creative fire which now burns brightly.  Upon seeing on film the beauty I had documented during that first trip, I decided to hang up my coat and tie after 15 years in the car business and move from Washington, D.C. to Taos, New Mexico.

The question that is often asked of me is, 'What do you like to shoot?'  Usually that is whatever is in front of me.  Whenever possible, I shoot what inspires me. The common theme in my work is the presence of Spirit, be it in a place, a person, or an event.  Most importantly, I am drawn to the beauty that surrounds me.  Part of the blessing of being a photographer is that I'm always focused on that beauty."  
Lenny FosterTaos                                      

John Suazo    is a Tiwa sculptor, founder of RISE.   I enjoy what I do.  It comes from my heart.  I have been a stone sculptor almost thirty years now at the Taos Pueblo. I respect the stone the generations it took for the Creator to create this stone.  I work with alabaster that comes from Utah.  They come in many colors.  My inspiration comes from my surroundings and things I learned from elders.  This all combined.  I went down to Santa Fe last week and took a day off and looked at the sculptures my Indian friends are creating at the end of the day I was really motivated. I was anxious to come home and started whacking at my new piece.
 At the Taos Pueblo I feel I had a wonderful childhood being around my grandparents growing up beside the village. Our kids nowadays no longer can experience that living. But as a child I remember going to the public day school my first year then transferring down into the public school system.  Our daily chores us youth was chopping the wood going after the water and in the evenings entertainment would be trading comic books…..

 My great grandmother from my father’s side is full blooded Spanish from Springer, New Mexico.  My great grandfather went there went to work in Springer as a young man and met this woman. What’s unique about her is that she moved here to Taos Pueblo with her husband she learned fluently the Tiwa language and she also took part in many ceremonies and always every day dressed the way a Taos Indian woman dressed in traditional clothing back then. 

My grandfather is Jimmy Suazo as you all know this book Man Who Killed the Deer by Frank Waters was written because of an account of my grandfather he was arrested up in the mountains and later one this book came along. 

My mom does the micacious clay pottery. She’s a wonderful mom who says I am difficult to deal with sometimes. But she’s had shows at the Smithsonian Institute and does more traveling than I do.  I’m a little jealous there. "

 Phaedra Greenwood            photographer, journalist, author


"In the 70's I settled with Jim in a modest adobe beside the Rio Hondo

to raise two children and three white ducks that looked great swimming in the rio.  I also raised hell with Taos Ski Valley as secretary for the Committee to Save the Rio Hondo.  During that five-year battle we polarized the whole town.  Over a hundred people drove up to the ski area in battered vehicles one winter morning  to protest the pollution from a faulty sewage treatment plant.  In the end we were able to cooperate in choosing a sewage treatment plant that seems to be working pretty well  Now we have to work on cleaning up the pollution downstream.

 Like it or not, we all depend on the water."

Phaedra writes from Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico where she is a member of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. Novelist and journalist for The Taos News, Phaedra offers creative writing classes and editorial services for fiction and non-fiction writers. She recently completed a book about her travels to Woodstock in 1969. It's called Off the Bus.

John Nizalowski        is a writer, father and educator.

I first saw Taos in 1986 while I was on a six month western sojourn.  The blue sage plateau, the serene mountains, and the town’s adobe labyrinth drew me in like a beautiful woman’s embrace.  I had been wrestling with severe writer’s block, and Taos cracked it open, utterly.  The work has been pouring out ever since—poems, essays, stories and a book, Hooking the Sun.

Although I settled in Santa Fe, I often dashed up to Taos, spending evenings in the Taos Inn, imagining the shades of O’Keefe and Mabel Luhan, witnessing the Pueblo’s Christmas Even fire ceremony, attending the annual Poetry Circus.  But the greatest experience from those days was interviewing the literary immortal Frank Waters.  That encounter deeply transformed my life in ways that are still manifesting themselves.  Recently, Frank Waters Foundation asked me to write a biography of Waters, and I can imagine no greater honor.

I left Santa Fe in 1990 to accept a teaching appointment at Mesa State College in Colorado.  However, I still feel I am in exile from New Mexico, and my heart’s compass will always point towards the southeast as long as I dwell here in far off Grand Junction.

SAM HAMILL     poet, translator, founding editor of Copper Canyon Press

As a teenager in the late 50s, I roamed much of the southwest (and west coast)in a kind of On the Road or Dharma Bums search for "meaning" or "way" or something. I read a lot of history about the "opening of the west," and about the great American genocide that would, a century later, provide a model of Hitler's concentration camps.
I read Frank Waters and the Beat poets and Kenneth Rexroth's poetry, translations and essays. It was Rexroth who introduced me to the D. H. Lawrence of Mexico 
and the southwest. 

I was introduced to peyote and read about shamanism. Much of the lore of those journeys wound up in a long mythic poem, Triada, and contributed to my interest in 
Asian poetry and philosophy. 
A lifetime devoted to the practice of poetry is itself a kind of shamanism 
and poetry a sagetrieb, a tale of the tribe, as Pound called it. 
We Euro-Americans have yet to seriously address the consequences of our history in this land.

Gail Russell
"Gail Russell was a painter and printmaker before she became a photographer.
Photo Artist Gail Russell has lived in Arroyo Hondo, NM since the summer of 1978. In 1987 she founded the Adopt A Grandparent Program, a nonprofit organization, which is still helping Native American elders and their families on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota

Sometimes, her architectural approach to every day things, uncover meanings not there at first glance. Her work Spotlights colorful ceremonials, contrasting with the simple everyday activities of peoples living in tradition. Striking images of ancient sites and landscapes, her usage of light sometimes transmits a spiritual message."

Robert Mirabal, Tiwa         is "one of the leaders of the Native American musical renaissance.
'My culture doesn't allow me to record anything traditional,' Mirabal said. 'But my music is informed by the ceremonial music that I've heard all of my life. What I create comes out of my body and soul, in a desire to take care of the spirits of the earth. I grew up with my grandparents and mom, an all woman family mostly. That was the classic thing in the '70s, a lot of relocation, children being taken from their homes by government and economics, marriages breaking up. I didn't have much connection with my father,' explains Mirabal.
He stayed in Taos to help care for his aging grandparents and attended the Indian school on the pueblo. While there, Mirabal learned the fundamentals of clarinet, saxophone, piano and drums-anything musically he could get his hands on. But, it wasn't until he started playing flute at age 18, that music took him over. "Adam Trujillo, a man in the pueblo from my grandpa's society made flutes and donated one of them to a pow-wow, and for some reason I really wanted that flute," says Mirabal. "The New Age thing was getting big back then, and as soon as I began playing, people would ask me to perform. They say the flute chooses you, and it certainly has changed my life-since then, I've spent most of my time traveling and playing music."
As Mirabal's flute playing "took over," friends and fans wanted to buy an album or cassette. "I hooked up with a guy who owned a studio and asked him if I could record my flute there and he said 'yeah, here's what it will cost.' I had some money of my own, but I needed more and my grandma gave it to me. She also lent me the money to buy my first flute," replies Mirabal.
Mirabal says that coming from a minority, and being able to stand outside the dominant culture, is a large part of who he is.  "I'm usually a loner - I like to go off into the hills when I'm composing, so doing this rock band and the big productions, is a real challenge. When you're a solo artist, you only have to be responsible for yourself and your mistakes don't impact a whole bunch of other people. With these shows, I have to be more aware  the consequences are much larger. I'm more like a beaver building a dam, making water where there was none, water that can spread out and nurture many things-plants, trees, animals and humans. Or, I'm like a farmer, creating and planting. You have to nurture the seedlings and deal with things like draught, insects and weeds."   from
Mirabal won Songwriter of the Year at the 1998  and 2000 Native American Music Awards for this music endeavors and albums which include Music From A Painted Cave and Taos Tales.

Immogene Bolls   owes much of her inspiration over more than 25 years to the Southwest, in general, to Taos in particular.

Hopi song-poets taught her, and thus  36 years of college students, about song-poems composed for dances.  She has written about "Holy Dirt" in Chimayo, a snake in Chaco Canyon, a drunk at Abiquiu as well as dozens of Taos poems.  One, "learn Late", written in 1971 concerns the return of Blue Lake to the Pueblo.  That poem, temporarily lost, gratefully was found in her Fall 2000 move to Taos.

Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879-1962)    was a writer, activist and inspiration to many
"Mabel Ganson was born in Buffalo (New York) on 26th February, 1879. She obtained the name Dodge when she married a wealthy businessman from New England.

Dodge moved to New York (City) and her home at 23 Fifth Avenue became a place where left-wing intellectuals and activists met. This included John ReedLouise BryantLincoln SteffensMax EastmanWalter LippmannMargaret SangerBill Haywood and Emma Goldman.

pacifist, Dodge contributed articles to the radical journal, The Masses, during the First World War. After the war Dodge married Tony Lujan, a Native American, and established an artist colony in Taos, New Mexico. In 1922 D. H. Lawrence stayed at Taos where he wrote 
The Plumed Serpent (1926). The main character in his short-story, The Woman Who Rode Away, was based on Dodge.

Dodge wrote several volumes of autobiography including 
Intimate Memories (1933), European Experiences (1936) and Edge of Taos Desert (1937). Mabel Dodge Lujan died in Taos, New Mexico, on 13th August, 1962. "                                        
 and from the Mabel Dodge Luhan House
" Mabel Dodge Luhan came to the Hispanic, Pueblo and artist community of Taos in 1916. She came to the Southwest seeking "change". Mabel was "the most common denominator that society, literature, art and radical revolutionaries ever found in New York and Europe." So claimed a Chicago newspaper reporter in the 1920's of Mabel Dodge Luhan, a woman who attracted leading intellectual and literary figures to her circle for over four decades. Mabel was mistress of a grand salon, an American Madame de Stael. She was also a leading symbol of the New Woman, self determined and in control of her destiny. Luhan found her final and best-loved home in Taos. Here she married a Taos Pueblo man, Tony Luhan, and set out to establish Taos as the birthplace of a newfound Eden. She brought writers like D.H. Lawrence and
Willa Cather, painters like Georgia O'Keeffe and John Marin, and activists like John Collier to help her celebrate and preserve it.

Spud Johnson   (1897-1968)     was a poet, editor and all around town author of Taos "back in the day"

From the book covers flaps of a special edition poetry book Horizontal Yellow by Spud (Willard) Johnson, 1935:  

"Spud Johnson was born in southern Illinois in the section known as little Egypt, but having moved to Colorado when he was nine, he considers himself a true “westerner.” He attended the Colorado State Teachers College for a term, and also Colorado University, before going to the University of California, where he spent most of his college years.

It was there that he, with two other students, started the Laughing Horse in 1923, a small periodical which he has published at intervals ever since for more than ten years as a  magazine of the Southwest.

“Horizontal Yellow” is his first book, but he has published many pamphlets, and has been a frequent contributor to periodicals, was on the staff of the New Yorker in 1926-1927, is the present editor of the Taos Valley News—and is known to an even wider audience as an occasional and fleeting character in the books by D. H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Dorothy Brett." 

Barbara Waters   moved to Taos from Illinois in 1968 while her two sons were in  Vietnam.

 Here she continued her career as an English teacher. In 1970 she met Frank Waters and married him nine years later. She retired from teaching in 1985 and started psychotherapy practices in Taos and Tucson. She specialized in creative Jungian dream analyses workshops.

 Barbara founded the Frank Waters Foundation in 1993 and serves as  its president while organizing workshops, creating a large website and newsletters, and hosting resident artists. The foundation’s slogan is “Sheltering the Creative Spirit,” which speaks to her role in giving back to this community and the spirit of the land what it has so unstintingly accorded her in the way of inspiration, opportunity, and friendliness.

 Barbara’s first book, Celebrating the Coyote, was published in 1999. Since then she has edited four books connected with her husband; written papers and short pieces for books and magazines; and founded the Frank Waters Foundation Press. She has recently completed a second book-length manuscript, Falling Apart Gracefully, and is ruminating on the next one. At its best, Taos is a ruminating sort of place.

Jonathan Warm Day        is a Tiwa painter and writer
"With each passing season, memories and traditions are being lost, as indigenous people struggle to embrace their identity while trying to cope with their ever-changing surroundings. I was raised in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico with the knowledge of a sometimes tragic history. Today the villagers work and play where battles have been fought for survival…In my work, I have tried to capture those moments that I believe existed between those harsh and challenging times and the present…I hope to help preserve a record of the traditional life of our people and to educate those who know little of us, desiring that increased knowledge and understanding will help all of us to live better with one another and with the natural world.
                                                                                     Jonathan Warm Day, 2004

Taos Pueblo artist Jonathan Warm Day depicts scenes of Pueblo life drawn from many childhood memories, following his people through the four seasons in both story and art in his recently published book Taos Pueblo: Painted Stories. "    

Alma Luz Villanueva
Alma Luz Villanueva is the author of three novels.  The Ultraviolet Sky won The American Book Award in 1989. She has also published a short story collection, Weeping Woman, La Llorona And Other Stories (which is being translated into Japanese and Spanish).  Her newest novel, Luna's California Poppies, was published in 2002.  Villanueva's work, both fiction and poetry, is included in numerous anthologies- most recently, an excerpt of Naked Ladies appeared in Caliente! The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction.  A new book of poetry, SOFT CHAOS, is scheduled
to be published in spring 2007.

Jaap Vanderplas  is a photo artist, editor and graphic designer.

"When I was 36 years old I came to the U.S. for the first time. It was in the middle of my career in Holland doing advertising, being an art director and I was successful.  But there was also something drawing me to adventure, and I came to the U.S. doing a trail ride on horseback from Mexico to Canada, together with a friend.  It was the first time getting to know the U.S.  And I thought: “Well. This is so different. This is so awesome.  I need to do that again, (or something like that).”

Jaap is known as an award-winning Dutch photographer by many people. Recently he has become reknowned for capturing the heartbeat of Taos with his 100 Taoseños Project (some of which can be found here in la Puerta,Taos)  Begun in the summer of 2003, Jaap's photo/art continues to enliven galleries and pleasure Taoseños  greatly. He lives, works and loves in Taos, and has for many years.

Amalio Madueno          lives in Taos, New Mexico.

Long associated with the Taos Poetry Circus, he has  published widely in journals across the United  States. Anthologies featuring his work include Chokecherries: Taos Poets 2001,  Saludos: Poets of New Mexico 1998, and Thus Spake the Corpse (1999).

He performs his work regularly throughout New Mexico and the west in featured readings, television & radio, as well as on videos and CDs. His books of poetry include Coyote Observes Humans, Garcia In Space, ArroyoSmoke, El Mirador, Garcia In Gringolandia and Ventana, all by Ranchos Press). Lost in the Chamiso, a post-colonial epic poem infused with photo art, will be released  by Wild Embers Press in Spring 2006.

Anita Rodriguez   is a painter, builder and Tarot reader

"I was born in Taos in 1941, the daughter of Grace Graham King from Austin, Texas and Alfredo Antonio Rodriguez, a native Taoseno of Mexican descent.  Grace was a painter and had come to Taos to study with Walter Ufer.  Alfredo, known exclusively by the nickname of "Skeezix", was a druggist who had a drugstore on the Plaza.  From the beginning my world was characterized by cultural richness and contradiction and saturated with art. My parents were friends with the Taos painters and I grew up at art openings, bohemian parties and studio gatherings listening to art-talk and looking at paintings.  My mother taught me to draw, sew, sculpt, use pastels, paint with watercolor and oil and look critically at art. My father was a renown raconteur and a history buff full of stories.  He loved his culture, and on Sundays we cruised the villages of northern new Mexico in our 1939 Studebaker, stopping at every capilla, santuario, descanso, church and morada to look at the Santos and Penitente art, and talk to the hundreds of primos (cousins) connected to us by the dense kinship of our old family with what seemed to be all of northern New Mexico.  I am still mining Daddy's stories and using Mother's critical eye as an artist."

from her Artist Statement:

" I paint in search of something, I am driven to paint - perhaps to do the perfect painting, certainly in search of a new paradigm for this imperiled world and to bring beauty into being.  I paint to heal myself and others, to find wholeness and document my journey, tell what I have learned, and I paint to have fun."                                                        

 Alex Blackburn was born in Durham, N.C., in 1929 and educated at Phillips Academy Andover, Yale University (B.A.). He is currently Emeritus Professor of English, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, were he founded and edited the literary journal, Writers' Forum, from 1974-1995.  He is author of the now-circulating, part Los Alamos epic The Lamp Beside the Golden Dorr, winner of the 2003 International Peacewriting Award of the Association for Peace, Justice and Ecology.

John Nichols       writer, activist

John Nichols to antoinette: "When I got out of college and I went down to Guatemala in 1964 it just blew my mind. And my best friend at the time is a person who was quite political and he finally just said: 'our friendship is NOT going to continue if you don't start  learning a little bit about what I sympathize with.'  We had lots of arguments, my best friend Allen Howard and I.  I came back from Guatemala and all this shit happened at once.

 Lyndon Johnson running for President, the build up of American troops, I got married.  You know, all of the sudden am I not only dealing with a published novel that was popular (The Sterile Cuckoo), I'm dealing with New York City, the sharks in publishing, the terrifying idea of suddenly making money.  I mean I went from earning $1000/year to earning $35,000/year when I was 24 and being hired to write a screenplay for my first novel. Having it sold to paperback for $30,000, half of which was mine, I mean it was just an in-flooding of everything of the American dream. Everything we all dream about to make it in this a writer, it's a one in a million chance.

So. That was all being thrown at me. I was dealing with the 60's and all the agitation.  Including you couldn't just be the husband and earn a living and the wife is the wife and takes care of the babies.  Now you had to reverse it.  Now you had to become a house husband. And the wife would go out and work, but the wife didn't really know if she WANTED to go out and work, but she felt she had to.  And then I just started going to study groups to learn more about Vietnam war and you open Pandora's box and you can't get it closed.  And it's just sort of like the world fell apart. In other words, so much was stripped away from how I had been living, just how the culture trained us to live.  And all this happened at the time when I hit "success" and within six months I just rejected the success.  It was just too complicated and too full of contradictions.  That kind of thing.

I just backed out of the world.  I mean I backed out of the literary world. I mean I sort of backed out BEFORE I came to Taos.  I sort of lived in it for six months or a year and then I just...backed out.  I mean it was SO cynical.  The money world, the publishing world--it was such disillusionment.  Because I mean you're in college and you dream about being an artist, a writer, you read about Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Carson McCullers and you think you are going to have these great experiences in that literary world.  But it turns out that the literary world is a psycho capitalistic vicious hardass universe.  Just like every other job.  Just like being a teacher in academia.  And people will butt fuck you right and left for a nickel and I just got shell shocked because you know you want to lead a life and have some kind of career with some kind of integrity.  And it seemed like this would be incredibly difficult to do in a world that was so obsessed with sort of fame and money, right?  And sort of really quickly I realized that having my work represented as money packages the way that anything is that anyone would think could be popular is just a frightening monster experience that completely takes away any control over your own art."

  It was around that time that John Nichols  moved to Taos. He's been here ever since.

H. Warren Kelly    34, from Taos NM, completed a fine arts degree in painting at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. He also holds advanced degrees in philosophy, Spanish literature, and education.
Artist Statement:
 " The real subjects of any kind of work are the intersection of people, and our interaction with the world. Saying of a picture, ‘that works,’ means that it captures a glimpse of permanence in flux, and therefore it changes our ontological outlook. The world accepts our perceptions as far as they actively engage us.
I want to portray the exchange of quantity and quality at the edge of understanding and the core of feeling - where your intellect and effort have brought you in reach of really learning something, and you are guided in that movement toward resolution with a choice from the heart."

Karen Vargas    is from Taos, New Mexico.

 Her mother was born and raised in Taos and she is ‘related to half the town.’

“Mostly I’m influenced by my relationships with people here and the ways in which the issues of class and culture play themselves out. There’s a lot more than just an art community here, there’s a whole other community here, just as beautiful and just as bad as some of the art. Taos is a microcosm. This is an extreme place, the economic lines are seriously drawn. Don’t get me started on misappropriation of art culture. The glass is half-full. Don’t get me started on what I think it’s half-full of!"

Alex ChavezB 
Throughout my life I have been influenced by the devotional art of 
Europe, Spain, Mexico Portugal, and New Mexico. I began my art career 
as a figurative painter. Working with acrylics on canvas, and wood. 
When I envisioned these “Catholic Mandalas” I immediately knew that 
digital collage was the only way to create them. By combining  traditional catholic artwork of the west with the mandala of eastern  religions I feel that I am moving the tradition of retablo painting  into  a more contemporary medium and imagery. With the same end  results, an image used to focus prayer and meditation.
                                                   --a.c. chavez

Danika Dinsmore 
There is nothing like the open skies and dry reality of Taos to bring one to a standstill.  And then, magic begins.  The beauty of simplicity.  Each visit has forced me to face some part of myself, accept and release it.  Whenever I want to get back to the truth of who I am, I think about heading to Taos.

I  believe in angels.  I  would also love to take a road trip with antoinette claypoole some day.     (More information about her activities may be found at:

Megan Bowers

"if everyone had wings first impressions would never hurt..." megan bowers 

Megan Bowers has been documenting Taos Teenagers for the past 3 years. What has come of her portraits is a unique series of "Taos teenage saints & angels"  While working for the various daily newspapers in New Mexico, Bowers has covered many deaths and murder trials involving Taos teens. The saints and angels series is a way for Bowers to help the community see teenagers with new eyes, and not judge them based on clothes or age. Bowers describes the portraits as 'If everyone had wings, first impressions would never hurt.'" 

Allen Fergusen
The day my family and I arrived in Taos thirteen years ago looking for a refuge from the city (we’d lived in LA for six years and in D.C. for ten), a triple rainbow appeared half an hour after we reached the Plaza.  The beauty of Taos and the richness (not without difficulty) of its cultures and art have inspired and supported my art -- photography and especially writing, since I came here.

Katie Kingston
I moved to the Southwest thirteen years ago because of the prismatic sunsets over the purple dusk of the llano.  I was drawn in by the rhythm of ristras swinging from the portals, and the scent of green chilis al carbón. I have learned to relax in the plaza, listen to the rustle of willows interspersed with Spanish and Tewa.  My home now is just across the border in Trinidad, but I return to Taos frequently to renew with other poets and to listen to their voices, and my poems continue to find their home in many New Mexico publications. 

Lisa Law    is a photographer and activist
 "In the mid-Sixties she lived with the 'Mushroom' people of Huautla, Oaxaca, Mexico, capturing the essence of this endangered culture. Moving to San Francisco in 1967, she chronicled the life of the flower children in Haight Ashbury. She carried her camera wherever she went, to the Human Be-In and the anti-Vietnam march in San Francisco, Monterey Pop Festival, and meetings of the Diggers. She then joined those who migrated to the communes of New Mexico in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Wavy Gravy, and Ram Dass use her photographs consistently today.

Since that time, Lisa has specialized in documenting history as she has experienced it. As a mother, writer, photographer and social activist, her work reveals distinctive communities of people, including homeless of San Francisco, the El Salvadorians resistance against military oppression, and the Navajo and Hopi nations struggling to preserve their ancestral religious sites, traditions and land. She uses her camera as a powerful weapon to champion the rights of indigenous nations, bringing to a wide audience riveting insights into their cultures just as she did during the social revolution of the Sixties. 

Lisa lives in New Mexico in a house she helped design and build, overlooking the Sangre de Cristos and the Rio Grande, off the grid, where she tends to her vegetable garden, fruit trees and cats."
UCfro                  --

Mical Aloni     creates miniature, photo-realistic "Paintings" in embroidery. 
 Her unique and extraordinary precise work is in the permanent collections of the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, and the American crafts Museum, New York.     

Frank Waters   (1902-1995) author, visionary
" Born in 1902 in Colorado Springs Frank Waters came to Taos in 1937. He soon developed a close friendship with Mabel and Tony Lujan, and in 1947 bought a home nearby. From 1949 to 1951 he was managing editor of the former bi-lingual weekly Taos newspaper, El Crepusculo.  Later he served as an information consultant for the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico and in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the atomic tests at Yucca Flat and Frenchman’s Flat.  He also served  several writing stints in motion picture studios in Hollywood, California.  During 1966 Waters was writer-in-residence at Colorado State University, and then served one year as the first director of the New Mexico Arts Commission in Santa Fe. 

This varied background is mirrored in his 27 books, which include novels,  biographies, histories, and essay collections.  Much of his fiction and non-fiction reflects Waters’ deep interest in the culture and religion of  Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo. and pre-Columbian peoples.  He claimed that all his books were immediate failures when first published.  Nevertheless, they were constantly reissued in small printings and translated into foreign languages until finally gaining worldwide acceptance.  His classic novel The Man Who Killed the Deer, first published in 1942, has been in print for nearly 60 years.  His non-fiction studies Masked Gods: Navajo and Pueblo Ceremonialism, 1950, and Book of the Hopi, 1963, continue to be used as primary source books in schools; and at least 20 of his books are still being published.  Their popularity in part reflects the awakening of our nation to spiritual values of Native Americans and to the need for protecting our environment, which is at the core of traditional Indian belief.

Waters extended the scope of his Indian studies in 1970 when he was given a Rockefeller Foundation grant to research the pre-Columbian culture and religion of the Toltecs, Aztecs, and Mayas in Mexico and Guatemala.  From this came his book Mexico Mystique: the Coming Sixth World of Consciousness, 1975, still published by Ohio University Press.  On a NEA grant he traveled to Peru and Bolivia in 1982 to expand this research.

He was nominated numerous times for the Nobel Prize. "   

Barbara Moran
I am Barbara Moran, writer, seeker, pilgrim, frequent visitor to northern New Mexico, a Chicago-born-recently-relocated-Tucson-woman passionately in love with the Wonder of Taos.  I adore Taos and all the places it takes me deep within my soul.

Nita Murphy            is a research librarian.

"Taos was a place to do things that were not allowed in a Southern world (originally Nita came from Louisiana). I was always kind of a tomboy. I always fretted bout things you were supposed to do.  I was maid at Carnivale twice, and my daddy was a kin at one of the carnival balls, but I always fretted.  I was sent to LSU (Louiana State University) because that’s what you were supposed to do. And you were supposed to do the sororities, and I just suffered.  I was locked in a dormitory with 500 women who were kind of interested in hair and make-up.  And I used to walk up and down the halls. On my hands. I always did acrobatics and gymnastics. 

Taos….I think for me here I was able to breathe.  A small town southern existence was suffocating, stifling.  There are things you can do here that you could never do at home: it wasn’t proper. "

(ed. note: Nita  works during the daytime in Taos,  housed in some cozy rooms at the back of the old Harwood House, now the Harwood Museum.  She is keeper of local artist/writer lore, loves, intrigues and her/histories).

Iris Keltz    Since her early twenties Keltz has been searching for her village.  

By that she does not mean the global e-village but rather a real place on earth devoted to sustaining life where folk know one another and share celebrations, rituals, life changing events and food.  To sustain her during this life long quest, she has been a teacher, currently a literacy specialist in Albuquerque, NM, teaching reading and writing to struggling students.  Keltz started teaching in Harlem, N.Y. during the late sixties. She also lived in the old city of Jerusalem for a time and maintains a passion for what happens in that war torn corner of the world where she hopes to return someday.

She has also worked as a cook, a waitress, an adobe wall builder and brick maker. She is the author off Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie, a multi-media documentation about the counter-culture in northern New Mexico, told from multiple perspectives.  

Charles Strong

Lyn Bleiler  is a writer and a Wild Embers archangel

 In Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams writes, “There are those birds you gauge your life by.”  For me, this is true of magpies.  They impressed me during my first trip to Taos, courageous and vocal against a harsh winter landscape. On a subsequent spring visit, they amused me with their comic charm and vaudevillian antics.

In the fall of 1998, I traveled to Taos with my husband and our blind old timber wolf, Sally. It was a dazzling, blue-skied autumn. Days were warm and lazy, and cooler nights held the intoxicating richness of burning pinon. Gold leaves rustled on Aspen trees like coins in a jackpot. Thirty days later we were back in Taos to stay. Now we watch magpies year round.  They build Oldenburg-sized nests in our trees, humiliate our dogs, and pace the latilla fencing like Keystone Kops.

Creative inspiration is found in abundance here – both in the natural environment and in the people who are drawn to Taos.

Lyn Bleiler’s poems have appeared in small press publications such as The California State Poetry Quarterly and The University of Tulsa's Range of Light International Journal, and in two anthologies - Women Celebrate (Peace Publications, 2004), and Tree Magic (Sunshine Press, 2005).

Dale Harris  is a writer who lives in Albuquerque

"I have a history of the heart with Taos that goes back to 1988 when I first visited, driving a van cross-country from my then home in South Florida. It was springtime and though I lived in year round green there and ocean splendors, I was mightily impacted by the phenomena of spring in Taos, it’s beauty, the sense of renewal and new growth. I was a seeker, a pilgrim, wanting just those forces to transform my own life. I recall driving past a field full of wild iris and horses grazing, thinking this was truly a magical place. My mission on that trip was to find new venues for my artwork.

 The Milagro Gallery liked my slides and photos and I was delighted to have a reason to come back, to bring them my work. That was the first of many trips to Taos. Eventually I moved to New Mexico, although not to Taos itself, but the beauty of that first impression certainly helped me to decide. These days I come back to Taos at any excuse, to read poetry at Café Taza and--not so long ag--to attend the once annual Taos Poetry Circus."

Terre Compton

In 1972, Terre Compton sojourned south to Taos, with her soon to be husband, across the canyons from neighboring Trinidad, Colorado.  Together, they found round rings made of turquoise, and a charmed essence in the air.  Thirty odd years later, they still pilgrim through the canyons to visit each season and are sure that the magic has not changed.  Only they have become older.  Terre is currently adjunct faculty at Trinidad State Junior College where she teaches developmental composition and assists in the Learning Center.  She has published poetry in several literary journals, and hopes to one day assemble a collaborative work for publication.

Jim Mafchir arrived in New Mexico in 1974, and within days was standing on top of Wheeler Peak. Something he has done in all seasons most years since.  Born in Brooklyn, a Queens and Manhattan resident until he left for a life "Out West," he carried his-life time printing and publishing career here becoming publisher and director of Museum of New Mexico Press and Red Crane Books, until he started his own company Western Edge Press and acquiring Sherman Asher Publishing. Mafchir takes poetic notes whenever he travels--be it to the local peaks or foreign places--which he finds a stronger emotional memory jog than photo snapshots. He occasionally reads at open readings, though finds greatest satisfaction working with some of New Mexico's finest poets.

Paul Nelson     co-founder of Northwest SPokenword LAB
is writing an epic poem re-enacting Auburn, Washington history entitled A Time Before Slaughter. A broadcaster for 25 years, he's interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Jerome Rothenberg, Eileen Myles, Victor Hernandez Cruz, has a peculiar interest in Open Form in North American Poetryand writes at least one American Sentence every day. - In Taos the setting sun’s a fat, pink face drunk on the clouds like us.
On one of three trips to the Poetry Circus, in my long, short-sleeve shirt, shorts and sandals, I was asked: How many years you been comin? This is my first time said I. You fit right in he said, and I did despite altitude that made my nose bleed. Or was it the alcohol, the vitamin K or other depletions? Peter Rabbit’s poems for his late son, Dale Harris’ unique style, Chicagoan Terry Jacobus, Spam & Buckethead and the ongoing tales of Garcia via Amalio Madueño are just a few of the other Taos memories that now bubble up to the surface of my late night consciousness. May someone resurrect this festival. May Taos become its own country again.

Don Hudgeons 

As I silently walked the dirt roads on Taos as a child, the creative elders of the village whispered inspirations through the wind.  The magnificent power of creation was bestowed upon me as a child. They gave me the knowledge of art spirit and growth. 

And the 4 seasons  gave me creative power. Spring gave forth the energy of thought. Summer gave me physical production of my work. Fall gave conclusion to the gift. Winter gave me mental and physical knowledge.

Rich Forster

After visiting a childhood friend from Alaska in Florida, Rich Forster had always wanted to see New Mexico so he took a detour before heading North where he met a few “new” friends in Santa Fe from Japan and Hong Kong.  With them, he drove to Taos.  At Taos Pueblo the Taos Poetry Circus was mentioned and a couple of years later, with the help of an aerial map, Rich called bookstore after bookstore until he found the Poetry Circus outlet, Brodsky Books.  From there, and upon inquiry at the WPBA, he was “summoned” by Lil’ Rob, and for the next 6 years came to be with many more friends, all the Luminous Animals whose passion is the spoken word.  Rich lives in Rochester, NY.

Celeste Snowber  is a dancer, writer, and educator

who has focused her work on spirituality and the body.  She is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  Author of Embodied Prayer and In the Womb of God, she has also written many journal articles and poetry and continues to find huge nourishment in the connection between the inner and outer landscapes of the earth and body.  

Keith Felton
As a sojourner in a foreign land...I see the crosses on the Pueblo church, crosses in the Pueblo cemetery and crosses around the necks various kinds of people.  I hear old-world cellos accompanied by older-world drums.  I see blue eyes coalescing with brown.  As a castaway from a cool grey city it is the variation rather than the constancy of Taos landscapes, cultures and colors that enchant me.

Charlotte Von Gunten

The year she turned 70, Charlotte von Gunten, bought an old adobe house in the historic district on Ledoux Street in Taos and spent the whole summer renovating herself while supervising the renovation of her house.  Meanwhile, she sampled the best of what Taos has to offer and recorded observations in her journal that include fiesta, the annual powwow, a tour of notable Taos houses, and the peculiarities of Taos residents.

Andrew Sovilla  is a writer and romantic.

I had many ideas on what to present for this collection.  What I decided was that the things that I had written as direct response to some of the pinnacle events on the world state over the past year and a half or so (the period of my life that I have been drawn to Taos) were in many ways germane to the focus of your press.  The subject matter is often bleak…September 11, war in Iraq. American power and arrogance… but I found that in most instances I had faced those demons with the simple premise that love could, and in the end, WOULD, prevail. As we seek to create the world that so many of us in this community still dream possible."   Peace and Love….andrew.

nila northSun    a Shoshone/Chippewa from Nevada has been writing since 1974.
Her last book a snake in her mouth'was published by West End Press in Albuquerque.  Through her re-introduction to Taos via the Poetry Circus and her participation in "Global Voices", she's been drawn back time and again. Taos becomes a magnet of beautiful energy and new friends. 'Of course, the margaritas are pretty good too.'

Charlie Potts

A bio of why me in Taos? I came as a pilgrimage to the Poetry Circus, for Lawrence, for the fact that all my life I'd heard about Taos and never went there. I write to free myself from the need to write, to leave a space as empty and encompassing as the sky can be when it holds us gently to the ground.

John Biscello
  I moved to Taos from New York in October 2001. After realizing there was a formidable literary talent-pool in this community—with no fiction or poetry print forum available on a local level—I founded and became the Executive Editor of "Venus Envy" magazine, Taos’s First Lady of Literature. As for personal endeavors: I recently completed a children’s book, "The Kindness Trees," for which I am actively seeking a publisher, and regularly perform on the spoken word circuit.

Jan Sessler

Sessler says of her work, "I am drawn to the consideration of time and transformation therein, stains, marks, line, discarded objects, forgotten or lost words and unnoticed beauty. In these works on paper feel compelled to reassemble these elements so that they may be seen in a new light. The process of finding the elements and creating the works allows me to enter a meditative space where the unconscious meets thought and interweave themselves as in a dance."

Morgan Farley
I made the pilgrimage to Taos in 1972 to stand where D. H. Lawrence was standing when he wrote, "something stood still in my soul" and I started to attend. By some grace my first home here was a log cabin Lawrence and Frieda had stayed in above San Cristobal, and my first poems came to me there. I visited with Dorothy Brett who fiercely admonished me not to miss the Corn Dance and never to leave New Mexico. I haven't.   I wrote 400 pages on Lawrence's sense of wonder, and a book of poems called Name Yourself Feast.  I plan to grow old and as eccentric as possible in the company of jays and pack rats and seasoned poets right here in Taos.

Bill Nevins
I had heard of the Taos Poetry Circus for many years, but came to it in person only when I moved to New Mexico from the East Coast in the Circus's latter glory years, end of 20th and start of 21st centuries.  My first visit was with a gaggle of Albuquerque poets, the great Solis among them, who read in the round at the outdoor cafe, hobnobbed at the formal readings, got drunk and happy at the World Champ Bout and soaked and sang songs in the hot tubs at the after-parties. My official capacity was as a journalist covering the TPC for Hollow Ear, Green Left Weekly, Transmission Magazine--various mags I freelance for.

 Anne and Peter dubbed me the inventor & perpetrator of the new genre of Investigative Poetry, and they gave me a nifty laminated press card each year. I took the job seriously, (it suggested Ed Sanders & HS Thompson in my mind), but not foolishly so and followed both guests and locals around asking questions in what I hope was a non-irritating way.I always stood my rounds and passed what needed passing.
I got good, often lengthy answers and made many new lifelong friends.

 My personal favorite moments from my TPC years were:

all the round robin outdoor readings, especially the one where Peter buzzed me to end my epic poem about lost American submarines and Sharon Doubiago congratulated me with a hug; falling into hopeless love for the great booted poet of St. Marks and Naropa; witnessing Saul Williams's performances; self-indulgently impersonating the self-indulgent Yeats up against Priscilla's sexy, concise Neruda in a TPS dead-poets matched bout; chatting intensely with John Trudell in El Taoseno; unsuccessfully struggling and laughing with the night wind atop the Gorge as it ripped a tent away from the hands of us two poets; Peter and Anne, Anne and Peter, siempre. A good time was had by all, me included .I will always miss the Circus every June every year from now on out. Until the Circus comes again!

Jeanette Clough

For starters, I will use the first person rather than the customary third.  I was born in Paterson New Jersey, but my family moved West when I was twelve.  There were lots of things I'd never encountered:  Mexican food, pastel cars, wet and dry seasons, days on end of wind, and of course the desert.

I can't claim to have lived in Taos, but I most certainly visited it and have spent time in places with similar geography, notably southern Utah.  As T.E Lawrence said, the desert is clean.  Clear might be closer to the word I am looking for, which is not to say the desert is empty and has no weather but rather that it induces a certain transcendence from the thingness of things. 

Jomo Chiteji  is a poet and artist engaging his muse-ical industry in a 9x9 cabin in Taos, N.M.

Issa De Nicola   

Artist statement

Art is mysterious.  Creating art is an adventure.  To evolve through painting is an expression of love.  To ask a painting, “How is it that you want to be painted?”  This is how I open up the universe.  Art is what we all are once we get beyond fear. To fearlessness.  Fearlessness is freedom and freedom is power.  The only true power in the universe is love and love is our original nature.

When I begin a painting, it is the start of a search for beauty.  In that search I am transformed.  I believe the observer can be transformed also, if only in a subtle way.  Each painting is like a single petal of a flower.  See them individually. See them as a whole entity. Be intoxicated by them. 

Thank you for sharing this moment and may happiness be yours.
Love & Peace, Issa De Nicola.

Memories of Taos
By Kitty Todorovich

In the summer of 1988 I had the good fortune to stay at the Helene Wurlitizer Foundation. The late Henry Sauerwein was “the old man on the mountain” then: fluency in nine languages, deep understanding and love of the native cultures and unquenchable drive to challenge artists. (One night he gave me the assignment of reading Death of Virgil!) An ancient Hispanic tending tomato plants in his front yard ready to talk gardening and other joys. Contemporary art at Tally Richard’s gallery and a cup of coffee with Tally, herself a published author. Two of my fellow residents and I told ourselves we’d remember we were present in a local cafe when Dennis Hopper and Robert Duval “made up.” Of course, had I not been living in Taos I would not have known they were on the outs. Nor would I have stood in line at the post office behind Robert Redford. Browsing in the Harwood Library, I “discovered” Henri Michaux among other authors. Poetry was not relinquished to a tiny section in back.  Pueblo festivals, chainsaw sculptors, mestizo silversmiths, santeros, drive-through hot doughnuts at 5 a.m.: paradise to sip a Marguerita to a copperfire sunset.