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NMSU's La Sociedad para las Artes to present Hunger Benefit Reading

La Sociedad para las Artes at New Mexico State University will present its annual Hunger Benefit Reading at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Mesilla Community Center.

Poet Bobby Byrd will headline this year's New Mexico State University La Sociedad para las Artes' Hunger Benefit Reading at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Mesilla Cultural Center. (Courtesy photo)

Bobby Byrd, Joe Somoza, Antonya Nelson, Rob Wilder and drama troupe MissionaryNco will be featured at the benefit.

Byrd is a poet, publisher and essayist. He has long been a leader in the El Paso/Las Cruces cultural community and a promoter of literature from the area. He has published nine books of poetry, including "The Price of Doing Business in Mexico." He is assembling his next book of poems, titled "White Panties, Suspenders, Dead Friends and Other Bits and Pieces of Love."

Byrd and his wife own Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, a nationally recognized publishing company that focuses on literature of the Southwest, Mexico and the border region.

Somoza's most recent book is "Cityzen." He has taught in English departments in Texas, Puerto Rico and New Mexico. A native of Spain, Somoza now lives in Las Cruces.

Nelson has written four short story collections ("Female Trouble," "Family Terrorists," "In the Land of Men" and "The Expendables") and three novels ("Living to Tell," "Nobody's Girl" and "Talking in Bed.") Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's and Redbook and in anthologies such as Prize Stories, the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. A native of Wichita, Kan., Nelson lives in Las Cruces and Houston.

Wilder is working on a book of comedic essays about parenting titled "A Beer Before Barbie." He has published fiction and non-fiction in The Greensboro Review, The Colorado Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, the Santa Fe Reporter and Salon.com. Wilder also has been a commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

MissionaryNco is a drama troupe founded by Mayfield High School students Jade Boswell, Wil Gonzales, Andy Guitar, Dusty Payne and Triston Van Camp. The students will perform the 10-minute drama "Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From" by Christopher Durang. MissionaryNco had a successful run with the play at The Black Box Theater in August.

The cost of the benefit is $12 and the proceeds will go to Casa de Peregrinos, a food program that provides free food to families in emergency situations in Dona Ana County.

This year more than 6,000 families have been served food through Casa de Peregrinos, which relies on donor contributions. Over the past 11 years, La Sociedad para las Artes has raised more than $30,000 for Casa de Peregrinos during the annual benefit.

This year's benefit is sponsored by La Sociedad, NMSU's Department of English, Cinco Puntos Press and the Bean, a coffee shop in Mesilla.

For more information call Connie Voisine, English department, at (505) 646-2027.