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a bit about me

la Laylita

my history

               I still remember my first poem:

                          Fireplace, fireplace, oh so warm.
                              Lots of flies swarm by you

                                      Oh, Mr. Fireplace

              Yup. I was an elementary school insect poet.     

              By middle school, I expanded into other genres:  little essays. a short novel about a boy who stole the moon.



               In highschool, at Sandia Prep (the Sandia School) in Albuquerque, I wrote over two hundred sonnets expressing my love of New Mexico and a boy named Michael. I edited my school paper, and wrote the poems that meandered through the school yearbook my senior year. 
          I continued my poetic experiment in college, edited my college literary magazine, Conceptions Southwest, and wrote art and film reviews for the college paper, The Daily Lobo (while pasting it up at night for cash).

              Grad school: Columbia School of the Arts. I was lucky to work with super brilliant folks  (Daniel Halpern! Sharon Olds!) and I became an editor for several publications. I wrote my first book of poetry, Impossible Furniture.
              Post Grad:  First came publishing; I worked for newspapers and magazines (The New York Times, The NY Post, Gannett). Then came academia and 18 years teaching college kids.  I wrote nine books in all; I cared for my parents until they died, and I raised a girl. 

               Now:  I work with sheltered homeless women and special needs children.   I take writers on awesome retreats and I coach memoirists one-on-one. 

                Best of all, I am back home in New Mexico. 



Image by Pedro Lastra

my vision

              I still have the writing obsession of that little girl rhapsodizing about the fly. But I am obsessed with other things now as well. 

    I volunteer at Barrett House (a women's shelter in Albuquerque), and work in the Albuquerque Public Schools with special needs children. I foster dogs. I spend energy on numerous causes-- environmental and social,  trying to help keep the planet rolling, guns in control, and books on shelves.

    I am looking for ways to play a role in the coming election, as it is so imperative, possibly canvassing for a candidate in my district. I would also like to play a role in addressing global peacemaking. That's a tough one. Humanity seems hell bent on destroying itself. Our work on the earth is so important, we have to pay attention to suffering-- human, animal and environmental.

       But mostly (I'll just say it), I am obsessed with words.

       Writing, writing, writing. Helping other writers.  I take writers on retreats to beautiful places (go to and click "retreats" for the one coming up in October in Bordeaux, France!), and I am an editor for a small press that publishes women's memoirs, Mnemosyne.

        What else? The rest of my life is consumed by my darling daughter, Ava, my nephew, Dillion, and my dog, Layla.

                                     Of course.


Here, with my lovely daughter Ava.
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