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Jennifer Cartright

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

Day 2 introductions

John Macker (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

John grew up in Colorado and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He has published 10 full-length books of poetry, 2 audio recordings and several broadsides and chapbooks over 30 years. His most recent are Atlas of Wolves, The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away, Selected Poems 1983-2018, (a 2019 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards finalist), Gorge Songs (with Denver woodblock artist Leon Loughridge), Blood in the Mix (with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh) and part three of his “Badlands” trilogy, Disassembled Badlands published by Colorado’s Turkey Buzzard Press, 2014. His books were featured in the Colorado State Historical Society exhibit, Mile High and Underground, featuring 30 years of Denver art and poetics. In the mid 1990’s he edited the award-winning HARP Arts Journal in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He has received 2 Pushcart Prize nominations and in 2006 won Mad Blood magazine’s first annual literary prize. That same year he edited the Desert Shovel Review. He has received the James Ryan Morris Memorial (Tombstone) Award for poetry and a Colorado Council on the Arts grant. In 2019, won a Fischer Poetry Prize finalist award, sponsored by the Telluride Institute. His recent prose and essays on poets and poetics have appeared in Albuquerque’s Malpais Review (where he was contributing editor), Cultural Weekly, as it ought to be magazine, Miriam’s Well, Mad Swirl, Manzano Mountain Review and Lummox Journal. For the last 24 years, he has lived in Northern New Mexico.

Thirty years ago I met John Macker through letters. I had just begun dating the poet who is now my husband and one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon was to get into his VW bus listen, to some great music and drive to his mom’s house to pick up his mail. I know that doesn't sound like a great date, but we were starving artists. Our excitement would peak when a Macker letter would arrive. We would sit in his mom’s driveway and he would read me John’s latest missive. I fell in love with John’s writing and the way he mentored Michael. John is a great poet in every way, not just in the poems he puts to the page, but in the true passion he has for the medium, the mystic and the history of this cherished art form. John is steeped in the lore of poetry and not afraid to share it with other poets. John has made Michael a better poet and I am certain that Michael is not the only poet he has mentored. It is our great honor to have him reading at our first auxarczen reading.

America the Beautiful, the Black Hole and the Painted Desert

Thank you, blustery day

the badlands colors are interpenetrating

like an ancient clown grave

or layers of memory of a happy

childhood where nothing decays

everything remains, stubbornly inert

but ever-changing.

The wind alone, disputatious,

a howling nihilist samurai high

over the rez or a

breezy Joni Mitchell song.

The katzenjammer kid

inappropriately gropes the flag

a public display of impotent patriotism

or the women of Standing Rock.

In Spain, 1937, Americans washed up on the

shore of their own lost cause and once

General Miles said of Geronimo:

“he had the clearest, the sharpest dark eye.”

It took years for America’s hair to turn white

as if it had just seen a ghost in the mirror.

A Phoenix teenager paints her fingernails

the colors of the next performance

art revolution. A no regrets coyote

trots along the mesa edge where the

old time psychedelic is still as

much deity as it is sunset.

Thank you observatory earth

for the first glimpse of the “monster

in Virgo”, its black eye, its red tulip mouth

looks out at us across the arduous

light years and sees only blue.


Copyright 2019 John Macker

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