There's a profusion of witty truisms about the power of books, roughly half of them coined by either Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde. But I think my favorite is William Faulkner's entreaty: "Read, read, read." Or listen to people read. Also, talking about reading is good. Luckily for you, there's mucho going on around this two-area code state to facilitate your print and pulp addiction.
This weekend, West End Press hosts the Albuquerque Cultural Conference, the theme of which is Poetry and Activism: Recovering Meaning. Friday, April 17, sees a reading by West End Poets Marianne Broyles, Jason Yurcic, Jenifer Vernon and Sy Hoahwah, along with special guest Norma Smith. Along with the reading there will be a discussion titled "Recovering Meaning in a World of Change" with press poets and others. Refreshments will be available, and though there's a suggested donation of $5, all are welcome regardless of financial solvency. The event will be held at the Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW) from 6 to 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 18, the poetry parade continues at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) with a free reading focused on themes of peace and social justice by Mary Oishi and friends, starting at 7 p.m. See westendpress.org for more.
Down south, our fine friends in Mesilla (snug up against Las Cruces) have lent their village to the 15th annual Border Book Festival. Yes, one of our favorite New Mexican fests is celebrating its quinceañera, so at some point sheet cake and Tejano music will be involved. What will also happen Friday, April 17, through Sunday, April 19, is a slew of events celebrating art and creativity. Featured poet Luis Rodriguez will give several readings. There are also plenty of performances, family-friendly events and a one-woman show by Dominican nun Sister Nancy Murray, which will raise funds for Centro Santa Catalina, a sewing cooperative located just over the border in Juárez. Sister Nancy Murray is also the sister of Bill Murray. That Bill Murray. Not that she should be defined through her relation to a famous sibling, but that's too weird not to note. Learn more at borderbookfestival.org.