Life stories: Two readings
Readings at Teatro Paraguas and Collected Works Bookstore
This weekend, two books published in Santa Fe launch with readings and receptions at local, independent venues. At 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, Robert Wilder reads from his first novel, Nickel, published by Leaf Storm Press, at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St., 505-988-4226). At 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, Linda LeGarde Grover reads from The Sky Watched: Poems of Ojibwe Lives, published by Red Mountain Press and winner of the Red Mountain Editor’s Award, at Teatro Paraguas (3205 Calle Marie, 505-424-1601).
Nickel is told from the point of view of teenage Coy, a boy with a female best friend named Monroe, who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Set in a fictionalized version of Santa Fe, Nickel is a fast-paced, voice-driven novel about the perils of youth, penned by an author who has been teaching English at Santa Fe Preparatory School for more than 20 years. “If I got to Agua Fría Street, I could follow it back to school, so I busted out ... and walked east toward the mountains,” reads one descriptive passage. “People in Monroe’s neighborhood park their cars on their gravel yards sideways, like mechanical backslashes.”
Grover’s poems encompass a broader narrative, delving into the history of an Ojibwe family from Minnesota, beginning with creation and leading up to the present day. The Sky Watched is written in English and Ojibwe, with the languages mixing within the poems rather than existing side-by-side as translations. Grover (Bois Forte Band, Ojibwe) weaves together strands of memory and oral traditions in the voices of elders, teachers, and children. “Speak English. Forget the language of your grandparents. It is/dead. Forget their teachings. They are ignorant and unGodly,” she writes in “Everything You Need to Know in Life You’ll Learn at Boarding School.” — Jennifer Levin