Water, Land, and Culture in the Sacred Homeland of Northern New Mexico

Levi Romero

By Judyth Hill

El agua es vida, water is life, bilingual poet Levi Romero reminds us. This is a mantra common to the gente, the people of New Mexico, who know that water is essential to survival in their arid landscape. True for us, also, in our beautiful high-desert home of San Miguel. And true around the world.

In a multimedia presentation on Tuesday, February 27th at 6pm in the Bellas Artes auditorium, award-winning poet, scholar, filmmaker and enthralling storyteller Levi Romero will explore the history and relevance of acequias—the traditional community waterways that weave water through the land and culture of la querencia, the New Mexico homeland.

Respeto (respect), caridad (charity), and repartimiento (sharing) are integral to the prosperity of an acequia community. In his engaging presentation, Romero will explain these traditions and other acts of mutualismo (mutual aid) that are the values sustaining a querencia.

The acequias of New Mexico, using irrigation methods derived from Middle Eastern, Spanish, Mediterranean, and indigenous peoples, continue to function just as they have since first established by los nuevos pobladores (new settlers) more than 400 years ago. In our era of diminishing water resources and the depletion of values that sustain community, could such traditions help save the future?

Assistant Professor in the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at the University of New Mexico and Director of the New Mexico Cultural Landscapes Certificate Program, Romero was awarded the post of New Mexico Centennial Poet in 2012. His books, published throughout the US, Mexico, Spain, and Cuba, have received numerous honors, including the Southwest and New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, the Writers’ League of Texas Book Award Finalist, the International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention, and a Best Books of the Southwest selection.

Romero hails from the Embudo Valley of northern New Mexico. His writing is a lush, story-filled tapestry of formal poetics interwoven with Nuevomexicano colloquialisms, traditional wisdom, and the poetic richness of daily conversation.

Author Rudolfo Anaya said of Romero, “Levi’s duende (spirit) is restless, and it smolders with true poetic intent… The spiritual essence of the Rio Grande corridor and its tributaries shines in every poem. From the loco to the sublime, Levi’s poems are a blessing on our heads.” This opportunity to hear the fascinating story of acequias and be in passionate conversation with Levi Romero is indeed a blessing on our heads.

Levi Romero will be speaking in English and Spanish. San Miguel PEN is a chapter of PEN International, the organization of writers that fights for freedom of expression around the world. The 150 pesos admission helps fund local activities and includes a free glass of wine with dinner afterwards at Vivali’s, across the street at Hernandez Macias 66. Tickets at Ticket Central in the Biblioteca or at the door. For more information, visit sanmiguelpen.com.

 

2017 PEN Winter Lecture Series presents

La Querencia Sagrada: Water, Land, and Culture in Northern New Mexico

Levi Romero

Tue, Feb 27, 6pm

Bellas Artes Auditórium

Hernández Macías 75

English and Spanish

sanmiguelpen@gmail.com

150 pesos

 

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