Visiting poet and creative writing students will read from personal work on May 1


Adams State College Creative Writing Program will host Maria Melendez, Pilgrimage magazine editor and visiting poet on Tuesday, May 1. Melendez will lead a workshop for writers, "What Do Editors Want?" at 4 p.m. in McDaniel Hall room 206 and she and senior creative writing students will read their work at 7 p.m. in the Adams State Theatre Xperimental Theatre.

During the workshop, Melendez will talk about writing and publishing personal essays and poetry. Pilgrimage, published three times a year, emphasizes poetry and essays by writers from the greater southwest on the themes of spirit, witness, and place. Formerly edited by Adams State faculty member Peter Anderson, Pilgrimage is committed to promoting the work of new and established writers from our region. Bring unfinished drafts, ideas, or a blank slate...Maria will provide prompts to enliven work in progress or inspire new writing. Visit Pilgrimage Press or FB Pilgrimage Press.

In conjunction with the student capstone reading, Melendez will read from published and new work, and will have her books available for purchase and signing. Creative writing students reading will include Kenny Babcock, Sydney Bruner, Kristen McGlynn, Victoria Miranda, and Christopher Swain.

The main theme of Swain's reading, "Light in the Darkness," is a sample of the over-arching theme for his book. "I believe there is still so much to be represented through poetry. We have a tendency in this genre to shy away from the things that truly need to be said about the troubles of life." He is thankful for Aaron Abeyta's, professor of English, guidance. “I appreciate and respect the honesty he has always shown towards my writing and my strange abstractions."

Babcock said his poetry is inspired by life, science, fiction and his "want to tell stories." He believes his relationship with the English faculty is more like friendships than student/teacher. "They are funny and always there if I need help."

Miranda agrees with Swain, "I don't have a favorite professor; the entire department has been a wonderful influence." She credits the creative writing faculty with her growth as a poet and person. She now understands how levels of the society work together, politics to poetry, because of her political science and government professors.

Intensive portraits of people, times, or places are common threads between Bruner's writings. Although all the professors inspired her, Dr. Carol Guerrerro-Murphy comes to her mind when thinking about qualities such as enthusiasm, warmth, and encouragement." She really pushed me out of my comfort zone as far as my poetry was concerned and was always full of insights and incredibly thoughtful feedback on every poem I wrote."

Melendez is author of two collections of poetry from University of Arizona Press: How Long She'll Last in This World (2006), a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and Flexible Bones (2010), a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her poetry has been featured in Poetry Daily, Orion, and in The Language of Conservation exhibition at Milwaukee County Zoo. Her essays appear in Ms. Magazine, Sojourns and elsewhere. Her poetry and essays are widely anthologized, appearing in Sisters of the Earth: Women's Prose & Poetry About Nature, and in Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity & the Natural World, among other venues, and NPR's American Democracy Project broadcast several of her essays on arts & activism. She has taught creative writing as a fellow at the Saint Mary's College Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership, where she co-curated the interdisciplinary exhibit, Poetas y Pintores: Artists Conversing with Verse. She currently lives in Pueblo, Colo., where she edits Pilgrimage, a literary magazine emphasizing the themes of spirit, witness and place.