The Taos County Historical Society presents a free, public lecture “Take A Poetic Leap Into Taos History” by Karen S. Cordova at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, in the Boardroom of the Kit Carson Coop, 118 Cruz Alta Road in Taos.
This program is part of the Society’s participation with the 2016 Taos Visionaries theme for the community’s arts and cultural organizations.
A former board member of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic American, Southern, Calif., Chapter, Cordova is a self-described “genealogy geek”. Cordova like to use genealogy, family stories, heirlooms, cutlural history, and even DNA testing to inform her poetry and prose – and that will be the focus of her presentation for the Taos County Historical Society. She will intersperse poems about Taos and a few of her Taoseno ancestors, throughout her talk, as examples of how she does this. Audience members with a poetic bent might even be inspired to do the same. She will only read accesible poems for the sake of those who deem poetry a foreign language. This will be an interactive talk, so audience queestions will be welcomed.
Cordova’s heritage is Hispano – the Spanish who settled New Mexico and intermarried with Native Americans – and two mountain men who wandered west. William Pope from Kentucky and John David Albert, born in Hagerstown, Md., were trappers, traders, and adventurous men who lived in Taos for years in the 19th century. They married Hispano Taos women. John David was a noted figure in the 1847 Taos Massacre. He married the daughter of William Pope. Pope Valley, near Napa Valley, Calif. was named for William. Prior to his settling in Northern California, Pope had been cpatured, while fleeing Taos, and was imprisoned in San Diego as an illegal Americano immigant. Cordova has many more ancestors, who lived in Taos and its surrounding villages in the 19th century.
Cordova is a writer and business woman who lives in Southern Califronia. She has deep roots in both Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, and she visits New Mexico several times a year. Her poetry has been widely published. She also writes prose articles for genealogy journals. Her first book, Farolito, was published in August 2015 by 3: A Taos Press.
It is a true story, which casts a Hispano light on the dark subjects of elder abuse and neglect, but alos illuminates a jagged path to solution and unexpected healing. Her second book, Souls in Hiding, is about crypto-Jews and conversos, whose descendants live in New Mexico. It is being written with Andrea Watson and Joan Ryan of Taos, as well as Dr. Carol Arnoff. The expected publication date of Souls in Hiding is 2017.
Cordova has been a featured reader in many ekphrasis and other poetry events throughout the United States. Ekphrasis events are collaborations of visual artists, poets, and performing artists. She also curates poetry events. She and Taos publisher and poet, Andrea L. Watson, are planning a show, Take A Detour from Route 66: Taos to Los Angeles, which will be held at The Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum and the John A. Rowland House in Southern California in March 2017, as well as a venue in Taos, which will be determined in 2017. These events will be sponsored by the Taos Arts Council. Both William Workman and John Rowland lived in Taos, before moving to California.
Cordova is especially proud to have given a presentation and poetry reading in 2016 for faculty and students in the Keck Medical School at the University of Southern California. The invitation was extended by the director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Dr. Laura Mosqueda who wrote one of the blurbs for Farolito.
The purpose was to stimulate discussion among faculty and students about how literature and the arts can help doctors be better doctors. Another honor was participation in the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto at USC. The Flor y Canto was a three-day, hsitoric event, which featured relatively unknown, but promising writers, as well as such luminaries as Richard Montoya of Culture Clash; and the Poet Laureate of the United States, Juan Felipe Herrera.
The Taos County Historical Society is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization founded in 1952 and dedicated to the recording and preserving of the irreplaceable in Taos County. Membership is open to anyone upon the payment of dues. For additional information visit the Society’s website