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Poetry, art, music mix at NMSU event

Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas is coming to New Mexico State University for a collaborative event that mixes music, art and poetry. The two-day event, sponsored by the Department of Music and the Honors College, will begin with a poetry reading by Thomas at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 8, in the Conroy Honors Centers Commons. A choral concert will kick off the second night, followed by reception and book signing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the Atkinson Recital Hall. Both nights are free and open to the public.

An event flyer
The Department of Music at New Mexico State University, along with the Honors College, will host Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas in a two-day event that features poetry, music and art. (Submitted image)

"There will be music based on poetry that was inspired by paintings," said Lon Chaffin, music department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. "It's always fascinating for me to see how the different art forms overlap, but can express the human experience from a multitude of perspectives."

At the Monday evening event, Thomas will give a reading before engaging audience members in a discussion.

On the 9th, NMSU's University Singers will perform with Thomas. The choral concert will include a screening of paintings related to the musical selections. Additionally, the choir is premiering a new work composed by Chaffin, titled, "Never Far Away." Chaffin said the work was based on a Thomas poem and inspired by a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.

"It's going to be fun," Chaffin said. "The music, the images, the poetry and the poet, are all going to be very colorful and engaging."

Prior to the Tuesday night event, KRWG-FM's Leora Zeitlin, host of Intermezzo, will interview Thomas live at 12:30 p.m.

Thomas is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate. He has published 20 collections of poetry, most recently, his book-length collection titled "Uncle Ernest." He has won numerous awards, including two Texas Review Poetry prizes in 2001 and 2004, the 2004 Violet Crown Book Award and the 2003 Western Heritage Award.

His poetry has been nominated for the 2007 Poets' Prize, five Pushcart Prizes, and a 2013 Best of the Net award. His New and Selected Poems, published by Texas Christian University in 2008, was short-listed for the National Book Award.

For more information about the event contact Chaffin at lchaffin@nmsu.edu