JUNE 15-17, 2017

                      Sponsored by SOMOS and OPEN HEARTH ARTS

Our featured poets include
Ocean Vuong, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Aliya Martinson, your host James Navé, Nathan Brown, selected youth poets, and you, we couldn't do this without you.

Here's what The New Yorker says about our special guest poet Ocean Vuong: 

"Reading Vuong is like watching a fish move: he manages the varied currents of English with muscled intuition....His lines are both long and short, his pose narrative and lyric, his diction formal and insouciant. From the outside, Vuong has fashioned a poetry of inclusion."  

Click here for schedule. Tickets for the Saturday night show are for sale at the TCA theater box office the night of the show. Email James Navétext or call 919-949-2113.




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THE TAOS POETRY FESTIVAL is proud to welcome New York-based Ocean Vuong, one of America's youngest major poets, to the stage at the Taos Community Auditorium.  In an April 2016 essay titled How a Poet Named Ocean Means to Fix the English Language, The New Yorker magazine said: "Ocean Vuong is not an experimental poet, but he is a poet of the American experiment."  Read Ocean’s poem Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong in The New Yorker, 2015. Listen to NPR’s All Things Considered piece In the Lines of Ocean Vuong, Echoes of His Family’s Past in Vietnam.  Watch PBS NEWS HOUR: Vietnamese-American Poet Contemplates His Personal Ties To War. Ocean will also teach a master workshop SUGGEST A NEW HIERARCHY for the Taos youth and adult poets, Saturday, June 4th, 12-4. 

 Read The New York Times excellent review of Ocean Vuong's first full-length collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, from Copper Canyon Press published this spring, 2016. He is also the author of two chapbooks: No (YesYes Books, 2013) and Burnings (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010), which was an American Library Association’s Over The Rainbow selection.

A 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, Ocean has received honors and awards from Poets House, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, the Academy of American Poets, and a Pushcart Prize. His poetry and fiction have been featured in Kenyon Review, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. His work has been translated into Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, French, Italian, Hindi, Spanish, and Ukrainian. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he resides in New York City and is currently at work on his first novel. 

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives in Southwest Colorado. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in back alleys and in her children’s lunchboxes. Her poetry collections include The Less I Hold, The Miracle Already Happening: Everyday life with Rumi, Intimate Landscape and Holding Three Things at Once (Colorado Book Award finalist). She’s taught poetry for Think 360, The Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Weehawken Arts, and Camp Coca Cola and dozens of libraries, schools and businesses. She served as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate and directed the Telluride Writers Guild for 10 years. She performs with Telluride’s seven-woman a cappella group, Heartbeat, and sings nightly for her children. She works as a parent educator for Parents as Teachers, and since 2004, she has maintained a poem-a-day practice. Favorite one-word mantra: Adjust. Watch Rosemerry's TEDxPaonia talk titled The Art of Changing Metaphors.  

Nathan Brown is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14 and mostly travels now, performing readings and concerts, as well as speaking and leading workshops in schools, libraries, and community organizations on creativity and creative writing.Nathan has published twelve books. Most recent is My Salvaged Heart: Story of a Cautious Courtship. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book,Two Tables Over, won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award. He’s taught memoir, songwriting, performance, and creativity workshops for the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon, the Taos Poetry Festival, the Woody Guthrie Festival, the Everwood Farmstead Foundation in Wisconsin, as well as Blue Rock Artist Ranch near Austin, Texas. Naomi Shihab Nye recently said about Nathan’s book, My Salvaged Heart: “Brave new world! The sizzle of couplings and uncouplings – attraction and romance, ineffable magnetism, mysterious as ever – but doused with a savory dose of Nathan Brown humor, a tilted long-ranging eye that sees the next bend in the road even when he’s standing right here, firmly planted.”


Sabina Jones has been writing poetry ever since discovered how to form words in elementary school. She says, “I write and read poetry every day because a day without poetry is not much of a day at all.”  Sabina’s poetry explores the human experience and how the heavy idea of loneliness shapes everyone. She believes the colorful language of poetry lies within us all, a language we must share with ourselves and then the world. She attends Taos High School. After she graduates, Sabina plans to hike Europe with a journal in her backpack and a pen in her pocket.


Alyia Martinson is a 2016 graduate of Taos Academy Charter School. She plans to attend the University of Denver where she’ll major in Psychology with a double minor in Creative Writing and Early Childhood Development. She is the Youth Outreach Director at SOMOS. Alyia placed first in Taos Academy Charter School's 2015 Spoken Word Competition. Her poetry has appeared in Stone Soup magazine, the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Magazine, Taos High School chapbooks, and in SOMOS publications.  When she’s not writing, her most unusual interest is creating designer oatmeal and reading cookbooks. The living person she admires most is her mother who inspired her to write and keep writing.  Her motto is “every moment in life is only temporary."




Taos Poetry Festival director James Navé is a poet, teacher, creativity consultant, spoken word artist, performance coach, and arts entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Twice 5 Miles, a content and marketing collective based in Taos and Brooklyn. He and Julia Cameron established and directed The Artist’s Way Creativity Camp in Taos, NM, 1995-2003. He co-founded Poetry Alive! a theater company that has performed traditional poems as theater for millions of students. His work has appeared in two books of poetry and in numerous journals and magazines. Navé has memorized over 500 poems.  He holds a BA in International Relations and an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College.



Our 2106 Youth Poets 

Friday, June 3, 2016 The Harwood Museum 5:00 to 7:00 PM



Isabella Tovino, often described as a brilliant young writer, is a recent high school graduate. Her current work is a collection of young adult short stories involving fairies and mental health. She plans to college for rhetoric and psychology.



Brayan Salinas often writes poetry and has been published in several chapbooks. His poetry analyzes the components of what it means to be human. He will be a high school senior next year and plans on going to college, where he'll likely major in something useless. Brayan discovered his love for writing soon after being hit by a semi-truck while reading a bumper sticker about gentrification. Fortunately he only suffered minor injuries to his sanity. His favorite pastimes include acting, playing Jenga, writing and reading satire, collecting plants, and sitting in his bedroom (where he grows a garden) while sobbing to the music of Elliott Smith.

Arasely Rodriguez has traveled human experience through words. She is a Taos High School 2016 graduate and is going to attend Regis University. Her work has been published in Taos High School chapbooks and she has performed at the Taos Music Chamber Group’s “Play it Forward.” Whenever she writes she tries to convey an emotional connection. She loves to bake and watch the sunset from her bedroom window. The clear starry sky and the earth’s evening sigh are things she especially finds wonderful. 


Ella Aquino is an almost 11 year old who has been writing and composing since she was 4.  She enjoys writing, acting, playing soccer, hanging with friends and playing with her two cats Zari & Carmelo.   She attends Taos Academy and is no newcomer to performing javing been seen in many local productions since her debut at 3 in North Carolina.

Elizabeth Pacheco is a 17 year old poet who attends Taos Academy Charter School. She is also a hockey player, figure skater, writer, 4-H member, singer, and rodeo queen.  In the third grade her teacher said she could be a poet. She took that and never let go, and with all the good things in her life, she has plenty to write about. 


Ella Hatfield has always been passionate about writing and fantasy. She draws alongside a lot of her poetry in her journal because it keeps her mind wondering. Ella explains her creative process, "It's always been easier for me to draw and sketch than write poems, but I can express myself through poetry in an exquisitely unique way." There's nothing better for Ella than a nice sunset, a warm drink in her hands and the presence of the people she loves.


Hana O’Brien Ishikawa has been performing onstage since she was four years old, acting, singing and even doing stand-up. Poetry is a new adventure for her, and she is very excited to be a part of the 2016 Taos Poetry Festival, Words Alive Show. 



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Makenna Tafoya-Kesson  is a dedicated performance poet and singer not only in the local community, but internationally.  An emerging young talent herself, she’s worked to support our young poets.  



Marieke Milke has been writing ever since she was a little girl. When she is not writing, you can often find her burrowed into the mounds of blankets she calls her bed. She has performed in multiple poetry readings across the country, some bigger than others, and hopes to pursue her passion in writing. 




Made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the department of cultural affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

A production of Open Hearth Arts Inc