Calling All Artists

Story by

Devonny Grajeda

Staff Reporter

Faculty Advisor of CNM’s visual arts magazine Leonardo, Carly Harschlip said she is inviting all CNM students to attend the first ever Leonardo Open Mic Night.

The event is for all CNM students and will be hosted via zoom on November 12th from 7:00-8:00PM she said.

If students would like to attend/preform they can email Leonardo at and they will then be added to the list, she said. Or they can go to their website under Blog and Events to sign up as well, she said.

The Leonardo Open Mic Night is intended to provide students with a venue that will be fun and interactive while allowing students to show off their creative sides, “It will allow students to share their creative work and have a sense of community, which is important for them,” she said.

Finding a community that a student can share their feelings with is just as important as taking a class. It is a big step to share creative work and it can be scary, but it can also be worth it she said.

Attending the Leonardo Open Mic Night may teach a student something about themselves, they may even come to find out they might have stage fright, she said.

She said, “Being a college student is also about exploring things and finding your place in the world.”

COVID has made things a bit harder by making everyone more isolated. Of course, one Open Mic Night is not going to change everything but it is a start she said.

Students are also welcome to attend the event as audience members only and are not required to share if they do not wish too, she said.

If students do not feel ready for either of those then perhaps they may find interest in working with Leonardo, which has been a part of CNM since 1991 and is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, she said.

She said, “Leonardo hopes to get people interested in the magazine itself. Or, to contribute if they want to be an editor perhaps at some point or they want to submit their work to it in print which is important for any beginning writer.”

CNM Instructor Publishes Her 2nd Book

February 20, 2017. By Hilary Broman, Senior Staff Reporter

Rebecca Aronson, CNM English instructor, recently published her second book of poems, “Ghost Child of the Atalanta Bloom,” she said.

The book starts with a field on fire, Aronson said, it has several themes such as fire and drought, parenting and loss.

About two years ago, Aronson decided to make writing more central to her life, so she teamed up with fellow CNM English instructor, Erin Adair-Hodges, and they worked simultaneously on their manuscripts while providing each other with feedback, Aronson said.

Both Aronson and Adair-Hodges submitted their final manuscripts to press contests and both of them won, Aronson said.

Aronson’s first book, “Creature, Creature,” was published in 2007 and it was composed of a lot of work that she did in graduate school, she said.

Aronson’s poetry has changed a lot over the years and her new book reflects that, she said.

“This book feels much more true to who I am,” she said.

Amidst her busy work schedule and family time, Aronson carves out time to write, she said, even if that means forgoing a weekend event or staying up late at night.

“I feel better when I’m writing,” she said.

Aronson recalls the best piece of writing advice that she received; she was talking to another writer about grading loads and responsibilities, she said.

“She grabbed me by my shoulders and said, ‘Just know that the writing has to come first.’ Aronson said.

It’s always problematic for Aronson to find that time because she wants to give everything she does her full attention, she said.

“I want to teach with integrity, I want to give my students good feedback, I want to give my son attention and I want to give my marriage attention,” she said, “Making a commitment to yourself to do it is the best thing and not to hold yourself to too high a standard.”

Aronson participates in National Poetry Month every April where she writes a poem a day for 30 days.

“At the end of the month I have 30 terrible drafts but then at least it gets my brain moving and it’s material to start revising,” she said.

Aronson is also involved with many CNM writing events, she said, she facilitates the Main campus writing group and organizes the CNM visiting writers series.

Rebecca Aaronson’s new book Ghost Child of the Atalanta Bloom is scheduled for release on April 4, 2017.  While this is her second book to be published, Aaronson said it is just as exciting as her first book “Creature, Creature” published in 2007.  (Wade Faast/CNM Chronicle)

Aronson and Adair-Hodges also co-host a reading and music series outside of CNM called “Badmouth,” she said.

It’s a mix of performances by musicians and writers, she said.

“It’s something that we wanted to go to, but that didn’t exist, so we decided to do it,” Aronson said.

The upcoming Bad Mouth event will be on March 11th at Tortuga gallery and the ticket sales will be donated to Planned Parenthood, Aronson said.

Find out more about upcoming events on the Bad Mouth Facebook page.

Rebecca Aronson is scheduled to read from her new book at Sunday Chatter music on March 26th and at Book Works on April 20th, she said.

Aronson’s books can be found for sale at the Orison Press Website and on Amazon.


Erin Adair-Hodges to Publish Her Debut Book, “Let’s All Die Happy”

February 20, 2017.  By Hilary Broman

Senior Staff Reporter

Erin Adair-Hodges, CNM English instructor, is scheduled to release her first book of poems titled, “Let’s All Die Happy,” this fall, she said.

She was the winner of the Pitt Poetry first book prize at the University of Pittsburgh Press, Hodges said.

The book is told through a woman’s lens and is very much about the world as experienced as a woman in this culture, she said.

“It investigates lots of different ways in which the world can wear on girls and women,” she said, “as young girls, as daughters, for some of us, as mothers, and as lovers.”

It is also an investigation of apostasy and a loss of faith in religious and cultural institutions, she said.

“What happens when you no longer find meaning in those, where do you find meaning?” Hodges said.

There is also a real dark humor throughout the book, she said.

Hodges has always been interested in Creative writing and she received a Masters degree in poetry, she said.

She stopped writing after she received her degree because she had to work many jobs to make ends meet and she felt, in many ways, that her voice didn’t matter, she said.

Erin Adair-Hodges, full time instructor at CNM in the English department has her first book of poetry being published this fall.  (Wade Faast/CNM Chronicle)

“I had been led to feel as if my voice and my perspectives weren’t valuable,” Hodges said.

About three years ago, after the birth of her son, Hodges began to think about bringing poetry back into her life, she said.

“I started thinking about who I am outside of my obligations, which is something I think that’s especially important for women to do because too often we get defined by our relationships and obligations to others,” she said.

Hodges decided to commit to making poetry a priority, she said.

“I only started getting published in journals and then getting my book taken when I treated poetry like a job and not just a fun hobby,” Hodges said.

Hodges ended up creating an early draft of her manuscript at the end of 2014 and the version that won the Pitt Poetry Prize was complete in early 2016, she said.

“It was pretty fast”, she said, “but I think it happened so quickly because it had been years of me storing up all of that energy and focus and because I felt like since I was getting a late start, I had no time to lose.”

Hodges worked closely with Rebecca Aronson, another CNM instructor who also published a book this year, to provide each other feedback, she said.

“Although we write very differently, we’ve become really good critics of each other’s work,” she said.

Hodges and Aronson both won contests within six months of each other and Hodges is genuinely happy for Aronson’s success, she said.

“There is plenty of space for lots of great work to be out there. I like to celebrate my friends who get their work recognized,” she said.

Hodges’ poetry was recently featured on PBS NewsHour, she said.

She was asked to submit a poem that spoke to the current climate in this country, she said.

She submitted a poem called, “The Jennifer Century.” Click here to read.

Hodges attributes a lot of her success to being able to rediscover her own weirdness, she said.

“I was a deeply creative, weird thinker and then I lost it for a long time,” Hodges said, “I think becoming a more successful writer was a process of getting back to that original, almost childlike way of processing the world.”

Hodges said that she sees this in students all the time. They give her answers that they think she wants to hear and that’s not the case.

“What I want is their unique, fresh take, formed by their experiences,” she said, “What can you, as an entirely unique person, with entirely unique perspectives bring to this that we’ve never heard before?”

With that, Hodges encourages students to explore classes that are not just a part of their degree program but classes that will help them see their lives differently, she said.

“Poetry has absolutely been that in my own life,” Hodges said.

Hodges’ book is scheduled to be released in the fall, she said.

Her book will be able to be purchased through her website and the University of Pittsburgh Press website.

Emmy Pèrez Performs Her Poetry at CNM

February 2, 2017.  By Hilary Broman

Senior Staff Reporter

In the featured photograph, Emmy Pèrez reads a poem called And It’s You from her new book “With the River on Our Face.”  Photo credit Hilary Broman.

Emmy Pèrez, a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship for poetry, read from her new book, “With the River on Our Face,” at CNM on Friday evening.

Pèrez shared poems that were about topics that were concerning her, she said, one subject in particular is the wall on the Mexican American border.

“Lots of bits of the wall have already been erected since 2008,” she said, “I think it’s important for me to share the poems that talk about how this has been happening for a long time and that we don’t want more to come.”

Pèrez also chose to read poems that had a lot of repetition and were musical sounding because they are the most performative poems from her book, she said.

Pérez describes her writing process to the audience.  Photo credit Hilary Broman.

Pèrez lives in South Texas but she traveled along the Rio Grande River to do research for her book, she said.

She spent time in Colorado where the river begins, and spent time in Taos, New Mexico, she said.

“Poets just look at stuff and try to see beyond the surface and make connections,” Pèrez said.

Pèrez used the things she saw during her research as a starting point to make images in her poems, she said.

“I try to write things in a way that you haven’t quite heard before,” she said.

Pèrez tends to write most when she is feeling a lot of emotion, she said.

The best piece of writing advice was given to her by Joy Castro, an award-winning author, in a writing workshop, Pèrez said.

“Joy quoted Natalie Goldberg who said ‘Go for the jugular,” Pèrez said.

Now Pèrez uses that in the creative writing classes that she teaches, she said.

“When I say, ‘Go for the jugular,’ it is the time when you are supposed to push yourself to say what you are uncomfortable saying or might be avoiding,” she said, “We need to say what we really want to say.”

Pèrez encourages students to attend poetry readings as well as perform their own poetry when given the chance, she said.

By reading poetry out loud it allows the audience to hear the musicality in the poem as well as have a conversation with the poet, she said.

“Poetry is a living art form and I don’t think it’s only meant to be read,” she said.

Pèrez’s new book, “With the River on Our face,” is on sale at the CNM bookstore for $16.95, as well as her previous book, “Solstice,” for $14.00, said Ann Heaton, CNM bookstore area manager.

Students can also visit Pèrez’s website to purchase her books and see upcoming events at

Printable Story


Student Submissions: Poetry

Young lady

By Dolores Newkirk

hold your head

don’t fret

it is ok

don’t be afraid

for fear

holds you in chains

and taking steps

may be hard

stand up

let the inner

strength shine

keeping you strong

even while weak

sing a song

for there lies

golden dreams

roads unseen


as bright sunlight

to be exposed

at the morning dawn


Looking Out

By Dolores Newkirk


Rest on the ledge

Listen to the sound

Find the quiet

Hear your heart

Violin rhythm

Tones abound

Soaring words

Show moments

Open your ears

Take it all in

For today is gone

Tomorrow will come






Living Words

By Dolores Newkirk


Like a whirling wind throwing about everything

Scattered thoughts are lost

Just as the clouds darken

All is here and there

Gone tomorrow





Pavement Poet: Student spotlight on Chantelle Sanchez

By Enos Herkshan, Staff Reporter

Eighteen year old English major, Chantelle Sanchez, shares her passion for poetry with Main Campus inhabitants whether they like it or not.

Sanchez said that her love for poetry came when she was in the seventh grade.

Ever since, writing has been a major presence in her life, resulting in hundreds of poems written about both personal and second hand experiences with love and relationships.

Love is the focus of most, if not all, of her poems, she said.

“I like writing about other people more than myself,” she said.

Not all of the content of her poetry comes directly from her life, she said.

When asked why she was writing poetry in chalk around campus, Sanchez said that it began back in April as a tribute to Poetry Month.

She said she had a desire to give life to her creation, art is meant to be experienced and she wanted to give her art that opportunity.

“I wasn’t doing shit with my poetry. I wanted to do something with it, something that people would enjoy…I wanted to do something that people were really going to see. Like, ‘what the fuck am I stepping on?’” she said.

Sanchez said that chalk written poetry was not her only effort in delivering her work to the public.

She once painted and wrote a poem on a stretched canvas and left it on campus with instructions written on the back for whom ever finds it to take it home or pass it on to someone who may enjoy it, she said.

This move was inspired by her favorite poet and author Ian S. Thomas after reading his book I Wrote This for You, she said.

Sanchez also spoke about Christmas tree ornaments that she painted, wrote poems on, and hung on trees around campus.

Sanchez shared a story about a classmate, who saw her writing the poetry on the sidewalk, coming up to her and asking if she were alright.

Based on the sadness of the poem a classmate of Sanchez’s felt the need to make sure that she was ok, she said.

“She was about to cry…I was like, ‘No, I’m fine,” she said.

However, not all responses have been of this nature, she said.

She recalled an experience where she felt appreciated for her work when a fellow student found out that she was the author of the poems seen around campus.

“I felt like a celebrity, for a moment, in an awkward way,” she said.

Being recognized for her writing motivated her to keep going, she said.

Chantelle said that even though her poetry can be sad at times, or seem a bit depressing, she is happy as any other person and the work that she does adds to that in a way that a creative outlet should.

If you have walked around Main Campus recently and seen words of love and emotion written in chalk on walkways or parking lots then you have most likely seen the work of Ms. Sanchez.

She attends and serves CNM Main Campus like a literary vigilante, a poet’s Batman, giving hope to creative souls searching for a means of exposure in the vast Gotham that we call CNM.

By offering her poetry at no one’s demand, simply for the love of her craft, Sanchez is putting her words, her art, her creativity and heart on display, open for judgment and consumption by complete strangers, for no personal gain.

A Troubled Soul

A Troubled Soul
By Amanda Cartigiano


Being in trouble was what she loved

Even if it meant hurting others or herself

Trouble with her mother, never with her father

Destroying valuables and ruining relationships

But this is the life she chooses to live

Nobody really helps her, they just watch

Nobody realizes her problem, it just isn’t enough


Her friend was no help, she only made it worse

Her life was a witches spell or curse

She fooled everyone she knew

For there was nothing she can do


She was ten, she was alone, and she was trouble

Repetitive actions led her to nowhere but happiness

Why was she doing this, how was she doing this

she didn’t have an answer


Misunderstood and very confused was what she was

Only in the moment of her deviant actions made her happy

Danger in the streets and danger in her home

She is Elena, a girl all alone

Poetic License; Instructor shares his words with the world

By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor

Don McIver under­stands the power of words, and as a part-time SAGE and English instructor as well as a Learning Center Supervisor, he shares his love of language with his students.

In his free time, he has been a vital part of Albuquerque’s poetry scene, as an award winning poet, editor, host and member of the Albuquerque slam poetry team, and on top of all that he is a host and producer of KUNM’s Spoken Word Hour.

“People still need to express themselves. If it’s about recreating or process­ing your lived experience, and sharing your words and your perspective, then poetry is extremely healthy and a great thing,” McIver said.

McIver has been pub­lished in several anthologies, and has published several books of his poetry, includ­ing The Noisy Pen. He was also the editor of A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Poetry Slam Scene, a book that chronicles the rise of the slam poetry scene in Burque; a scene that has given birth to a few national slam champions.

In 2005, Albuquerque hosted the National Poetry Slam, and McIver said he helped to organize the event.

Albuquerque’s team won first place that year, beating 74 other teams consisting of 350 poets, he said.

“It was a lot of fun,” McIver said.

Slam poetry is a very energetic, performance-based form of poetry that started in Chicago in the 80’s, as a response to the dull, some­times self-indulgent poetry readings that were going on at the time, McIver said.

At slam events, poets are given scores by members of the audience, and at the end of the night, a winner is declared, something that never existed in poetry before, he said.

“I think the difference is that slam poetry, or per­formance poetry, is meant to be heard. It’s designed to be listened to. Other poetry, you may read it out loud, but really it exists on the page,” McIver said.

Traditional poetry can be better suited to writing poems with multiple inter­pretations and complex meanings, and can therefore be harder to grasp when read out loud.

Slam poetry, on the other hand, is typically sim­pler, with strong messages that can be expressed more directly to an audience.

“They can certainly wres­tle with complex issues, but if the audience doesn’t walk away with something they are going to be lost,” McIver said.

When McIver arrived in Albuquerque in the late 90s, there was already a vibrant slam scene, he said. Before that, McIver said he had drifted away from reading his poetry to audiences.

“I was writing but I didn’t have any way to share it. I didn’t really know what to do with it,” he said.

McIver quickly joined the poetry community here, doing readings at Winning’s Coffee, Poetry and Beer events, and eventually host­ing regular events at the now closed Blue Dragon Coffee House, he said.

“I had never been an actor, never got up on stage or performed before, so I had to kind of learn it myself,” McIver said.

In 2002, McIver helped form that year’s ABQ Slam Team, and went on to compete at the national level, he said.

“When I started doing slams, I wanted to be the rock star poet. I wanted to read in front of really huge audiences,” McIver said.

Albuquerque’s slam teams have since gone on to place highly at several national events, and many local poets are now recognized around the country, according to

Being part of a com­munity of writers is impor­tant, McIver said, because the inspiration, feedback and encouragement one gets as part of a community can make a big difference in whether a poet sticks with it or gives up.

“What I learned is that it is much easier to be a writer when you are part of a com­munity,” McIver said.

Since then, McIver has had his poems published in sev­eral anthologies and all over the internet, and he continues to write poetry and essays, he said.

He has also written several novels, but none were ever published, which he said was dis­couraging at the time.

“I almost wanted to give up at that point and say ‘maybe I’m just not a writer.’ But it just doesn’t go away,” McIver said.

McIver said his atti­tude about getting his work published has changed a lot since he was younger, and that today he really writes for himself and for the community of local writers that he is a part of.

Since he began teaching here in 2009, he has found a new calling, sharing his pas­sion for language with his stu­dents, he said.

“For me, I like my job here at CNM, and I like teach­ing. I like getting my work out there, but I don’t need it to pay my bills,” McIver said.

For more information about Don McIver, and to read more of his poems, visit his website at donmciver., called Confessions of a Human Nerve Ending.


Watermelon Man

By Don McIver

Herbie Hancock said he lifted the rhythm from listening,

listening to the rick­ety wheels on the watermelon carts

on the hot summer streets of Chicago.

I’ll take his word for it

and say it became the soundtrack to a late summer morn­ing dancing session.

Coffee cup in hand, the nip, finally, of Fall in the air.

A fridge full of home­made salsa, tomatoes plucked the day before.

The one lone pepper still clings from the plant as it did back in June.

We assume it is danc­ing too–and why wouldn’t it?

Early morning Hancock makes the long, hot summer disappear,

the tomatoes ripen,

and fresh basil swing and snap.

Everything goes better with coffee and jazz,

and summer’s over in New Mexico.

Instructor publishes book of poetry

By: Shaya Rogers, Features Reporter

English and Cultural Studies instructor Felecia Caton-Garcia will be reading poems from her newly pub­lished book at a local bookstore next month, she said.

Caton-Garcia will read a selection of poems from her book “Say That” on April 17 at Bookworks on Rio Grande in the North Valley. This is her first published book, she said.

“It’s really exciting, more exciting than I expected it to be, just to actually be able to hold the book in my hands,” she said.

Caton-Garcia said she had been working on the poems for many years with no intention of putting them together for a book, but it fell into place.

“I have written for most of my life and I’ve written seriously and for publication for 10 or 15 years, so you always sort of have an idea that you’re evolving some­thing,” she said.

The poems stem from personal experi­ences with death and family, including the death of her father and an uncle who died just weeks before she was born, she said.

Although her poems are based on real events, they show a fictional outsider perspective of these events, she said.

“I don’t feel ter­ribly tied to facts of a the book is a combinaparticular narrative so tion of autobiographi­cal work, but often even much of the auto­biographical work is imagined,” she said. ­

Publishing “Say That” prompted her to consider how to recognize the artis­tic growth that takes place between the writing process, during and after publi­cation, and the present moment, she said.

“I am choosing to see it as a snapshot of that particular time and place and who I was as a writer right then, and the next one will also not be who I am when it comes out,” she said.

She credits “Say That” with helping her evolve her writing and bringing her to where she is today, she said. She hopes that by reading her work, others will be inspired by the imagery or ideas in the story.

“Ideally, that’s what art does; art changes you. The act of making art changes you,” she said.

Caton-Garcia said she would like for readers to feel inspired by her work.

“Say That” is avail­able at the UNM bookstore through and can be ordered wherever books are sold for $17.95.

Bookworks is located at 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Caton-Garcia will be reading her poetry from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17.