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Academy for Learning in Retirement highlights poets, writers of the Southwest


The Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) will host four presentations in late November and early December about writers and poets in the Southwest borderlands, ALR said in a news release.

Two presentations will be given by R. Joyce Z. L. Garay, Ph.D., who is an associate professor in the New Mexico State University Department of English and an affiliated faculty member of the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Program at NMSU, and Spencer Herrera, Ph.D., who is an associate professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, where he studies and teaches Chicano literature, film and culture. Garay will also host two roundtable discussions with writers and poets.

Here is the schedule of presentations, with all programs beginning at 10:30 a.m. and log in possible at 10 a.m.:

  • Monday, Nov. 29: Garay and Herrera present “New Mexican Writers and Their Genres.”
  • Wednesday, Dec. 1: Roundtable: “Borderlands in Poetry and Fiction,” hosted by Garay with participants Jennifer Givhan, Carolina Monsiváis and Sheila Black.
  • Monday, Dec. 6: Roundtable: “Indigenous Traditions in/of the Southwest,” hosted by Garay with participants Brandon Hobson and Jamie Figueroa.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 8: Garay and Herrera, “Contemporary New Mexico Writers and Future Directions.”

Audience members may register at dacc.nmsu.edu/ALR under the link ALR Presentation. Purchase options by 5 p.m. on the day before each presentation. ALR will e-mail a Zoom link to registrants on the evening before each presentation.

Garay earned a Ph.D. at Arizona State University in 2003. Garay regularly teaches courses in Southwest literature, Chicanx and Latinx literary traditions, borderlands cultural production, feminist theories and broader U.S. literature. Her scholarly work focuses primarily on Chicanx writers, including Helena Maria Viramontes, Cherríe Moraga, Alejandro Morales, Rudolfo Anaya and Eduardo Corral. Garay is co-editor of “New Bones: Contemporary Black Writers in America,” and a contributor to “Latina and Latino Writers.” Garay is currently developing her dissertation for publication. It is titled “Embodying Autobiography and Mothering Feminist Theory: Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga and the Re-visionary Practice of Auto/historia y Teoría.”

Herrera earned a B.A. in international studies at Southwestern University in 1995, an MA in Spanish at the University of Houston in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Hispanic literature with a minor in film at the University of New Mexico in 2007. He has been a faculty member at NMSU since 2013. Herrera’s most recent co-edited book is “Querencia: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland,” published by UNM Press in 2020. He is the co-author of “Sagrado: A Photopoetics across the Chicano Homeland,” published in 2013, also by UNM Press, which received a Border Regional Library Association Southwest Book award, a New Mexico-Arizona Book award and a Pima County Public Library Southwest Book of the Year award. Herrera is also the author/editor of “Before/Beyond Borders: An Anthology of Chicano/a Literature,” published by Kendall/Hunt in 2010. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas and has lived in New Mexico for 20 years.

ALR was started in 1992 by former NMSU President Gerald Thomas, along with retired deans Thomas Gale, Virginia Higbie, Flavia McCormick and others, including former professor and teacher Clarence Fielder.

Academy for Learning in Retirement