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Literary Sala Presents Kathryn Blair and San Miguel Poets

By Carole Schor

Literary Sala presents
Kathryn Blair’s In the Shadow of the Angel
San Miguel poets Judyth Hill, Wendy Bichel, Lois Read
Thu, Mar 12, 5pm
Aldea Hotel
Ancha de San Antonio 15
100 pesos, 50 pesos for members
Includes wine reception

Kathryn Blair, renowned and beloved author of In the Shadow of the Angel, joins the poets of San Miguel, Judyth Hill, Wendy Bichel, and Lois Read on March 12, for a celebration of women writers during International Women’s Month.

Kathryn Blair

Kathryn Blair, with her book In the Shadow of the Angel, was the subject of an entire weekend celebration several years ago at the Literary Sala. We are thrilled she is coming to our podium on March 12 for a much-anticipated return to San Miguel, this time with a new book, Forging a Nation.

Blair felt the need to write a compelling and readable history of Mexico, the country in which she has lived for more than 70 years. She feels that most history books are boring and based on academic jargon. “I wanted a book that my family and friends could read that would be both informative and entertaining,” she said. Her second reason for writing this book is to promote a better understanding of Mexico and its history in the English-speaking world, a view of what Mexico has gone through in its 5,000-year history to become what it is today. “All the bad news in the headlines today makes me angry. Mexico is so much more than drugs and cartels,” says Blair. Her third reason for writing Forging a Nation is to provoke readers into beginning a dialogue about how Mexico and its northern neighbor, the United States, can collaborate and combine their vast resources to further each country’s richness and spur them on to become the greatest they can be.

Blair’s first book was written at the young age of 70! (Blair turned 95 on February 19). In the Shadow of the Angel, has been called the “Gone with the Wind of Mexico.” This epic novel is set during a tumultuous time in Mexico’s history and is told through the life story of a remarkable Mexican woman, Antonieta Rivas Mercado, whose father was the brilliant architect responsible for the golden statue of Independence towering high above the Reforma in Mexico City.

Antonieta founded Mexico City’s symphony orchestra, opened an avant-garde theater, promoted education through the arts, and was the de rigueur hostess among Mexico’s cultural elite, numbering among her friends Diego and Frida, Tina Modotti, Garcia Lorca, and bullfighters, communists, and ambassadors. She became an outspoken champion of the cause of women’s rights and threw her support to the campaign of presidential candidate José Vasconcelos, with whom she shared a vision of an educated, just, and democratic Mexico. Kathryn Blair was married to Antonieta’s son, the late Donald Blair. In the Shadow of the Angel was scheduled to become a TV mini-series.

San Miguel Poets

The Wild Women Poets are coming to the Literary Sala to read their newest works. The event will be a celebration of all the senses, a riot of color, a symphony of sound, and a juicy tasting of words.

Lois Read lives and dreams in color and is the proud author of three published collections of poetry, one aptly named Breathing Color. The colors not only of San Miguel have inspired her, but also New England fall landscapes, the seascapes of the Mediterranean, the beaches and mountains of Greece, and Mexico reveling in color and light. Read’s latest book from which she’ll be reading is Walking Barefoot with the Muse.

You must shed all pretensions

All expectations

As well as shoes and socks

When you step bravely

And humbly

Into something

And somewhere



Wendy Bichel is a lyricist, librettist, and composer with a Masters Degree in Music Theater Writing from NYU. Her life has been a symphony of musical notes from her own career as a chanteuse singing her way across Europe, to her long-standing marriage to composer and pianist Ken Bichel. Wendy will be reading from her new manuscript My Affair with Rumi.


But sometimes,

When the moon is almost kissing full,

and I lie alone in my bed,

I miss his eyes,

shining with unearthly light,

a glimpse into a soul

I will never understand,

a faith I will never have,

sweet ecstasy I will never taste,

and inconceivable surrender.

Now I too long for the Beloved.


No poetry reading in this town could be complete without Judyth Hill, known as San Miguel’s unofficial Poet Laureate and beloved poetry teacher. Hill makes poetry delicious and juicy, just as she does with her incredible breads and chocolates that she serves at her poetry classes at her Simple Choice Farm in Jalpa. Hill is the author of the internationally acclaimed poem, “Wage Peace,” a tribute written after 9/11 which has been published around the world and set to music and recorded by the Cincinnati Women’s Chorus

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and        precious.

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Don’t wait another minute.

Celebrate today.

Writing on a piece of paper with two-dimensional words about Hill is like trying to contain a hurricane in a rain barrel. She’s fast, she’s moving, and she’s a whirlwind of words and wisdom and love. Her life is a poetic flow; full of poems for sure, but liberally laced with a loving dose of passion, purpose, and chocolate.


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