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Branigan Library issues call for poets


In February and March 2021, the Las Cruces community will come together and read “When the Emperor was Divine,” by Julie Otsuka, as part of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read event, the City of Las Cruces said in a news release.

The book follows the experiences of a Japanese American family as its members are incarcerated by the United States government following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In addition to the community reading, Thomas Branigan Memorial Library also will host a virtual poetry reading as part of the Big Read event.

Local poets are invited to participate by submitting up to three poems on themes of incarceration, historical trauma, New Mexico history, healing from trauma, Japanese American identity and creating community among differences, the news release said.

Poets will be selected by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Mary Oishi for participation in a pre-recorded poetry reading.

Send submissions to Mary Oishi at poetoishi@yahoo.com by Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. Submissions may be sent as a pdf, Word document or RTF.

Include the include the author’s name, phone number and email address. Poets selected to participate will be contacted, and recordings will be arranged.

For more information, call 575-528-4085 or email bsauer@las-cruces.org.

For more information about the national Big Read event, visit www.arts.gov/initiatives/nea-big-read.

Thomas Branigan Memorial Library