Border Book Festival Maíz; Honoring the Corn Mother

April 17, 2014


20th Annual Border Book Festival

The Border Book Festival will celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year with a Community Corn Festival at Klein Park in the heart of the Mesquite historical District and on the Camino Real on April 24-27.

Featured Festival artists include 3 Featured Artists from Puebla, México: Miguel Ángel Díaz Guerrero, a Painter, Pedro Martín Concepción, a Weaver, and María del Carmen Olvera Trejo, an Eco Tourism Director and Cultural Representative for 17 villages in the Sierra Norte in the State of Puebla, México. Catalina Delgado-Trunk, born in Coyoacán, México, now residing in Albuquerque, is considered one of the top Papel Picado/Cut Paper Artists in the world. She will offer Papel Picado Workshops and participate in a three person Art Exhibition: Tejido/Papel y Pintura/Weaving/Paper and Paint, with fellow artists Guerrero and Concepción at Nopalito’s Galería with an opening reception on Thursday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m.

A Special Festival Opening Ceremony will be presented by Balam and Alejandro López, featured artists from Santa Cruz and Santa Fe, New Mexico, Balam (born Edwin Lemus in Guatemala) is Co-Director with Alejandro López of Somos El Maíz/We Are the Corn, a Center of Transformation, Renewal and Healing in Santa Cruz/Santa Fe, New Mexico. Balam runs “La Cocina de Balam,” a restaurant featuring natural Latin American Foods in Santa Fe. Alejandro López is a writer, poet, photographer, painter, adobero (adobe maker) who comes from generations of New Mexican families who are farmers and caretakers of the earth. He is a columnist for the Green Fire Times and runs a language school. He is the author of Hispanic Folk Arts and the Río Grande and works with Balam to deliver culturally and ecologically based workshops to groups across the state and country.

A plant biologist who “evolved” into a writer and commentator, Susan J. Tweit has written twelve books, including the memoir Walking Nature Home, A Life’s Journey. Her work has been featured in magazines and newspapers from Fine Gardening and High Country News to Audubon, the Los Angeles Times and Popular Mechanics. She’s won awards including an EDDIE for excellence in magazine writing, ForeWord Book of the Year Award, Outstanding Science Book for Children from the Children’s Book Council, the Colorado Authors League Award (twice), and the Colorado Book Award. Tweit speaks and teaches regularly on writing from the heart, habitat gardening and using nature for creative inspiration. Her blog ( attracts readers from 102 countries and her daily haiku/photo posts on Facebook and Twitter have been called “a spark of inspiration in the digital universe.” A former Las Crucen, she now lives in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Salida, Colorado.

Join plant biologist and writer Susan J. Tweit for a workshop that will introduce you to the surprising lives of plants. Did you know that plants can see? These rooted beings don’t use eyes, but like us, they discern light intensity and colors. Plants can also hear, smell and have other senses. And plants communicate among each other and with other species. Seeing life through the experience of these remarkable leafy and spiny beings gives us new ways to see the world, and to enrich our creativity. We’ll use what we learn about plants in a series of writing and creativity exercises.

V.B. Price is a poet, human rights and environmental columnist, editor, journalist, architectural critic and teacher. He is a member of the faculty at the University of New Mexico’s University Honors Program where he teaches seminars on Greek and Roman literature in translation, urban issues, the U.S. Constitution, and world poetry. He is the series editor of the Mary Burritt Christensen Poetry Series at the University of New Mexico Press. He is also an adjunct associate professor at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning. Price is the Editor of the Online ‘Zine, New Mexico Mercury, a leading and cutting edge “Voice of New Mexico. Global in its outreach and deeply rooted in Conscious journalism.”

Dick Davis, Cultural Preservationist and Writer, will give a presentation and read from his book, Bus Journey Across México: Exploring México by Bus, from California to Guatemala: Encounters and Reflections.

Featured festival writers will be visiting schools and community centers April 21-25. For more information on how to sponsor a visiting artist, please contact the BBF at 575-523-3988, bbf@borderbook On Friday, April 25 the BBF will offer a Celebratory All Corn Meal catered by Chef Olga Nuñez. The dinner will include music and sharing by festival artists. The cost is $40 and reservations are necessary.

Saturday April 26 starting at 10:00 a.m. will be the Corn Mother Festival at Klein Park. Klein Park is an outdoor park on Mesquite Street in the heart of historic Las Cruces on the Camino Real. The Corn Festival will feature panels, workshops, Pláticas/Talks in nearby galleries, community centers, and miscellaneous venues as well as a day-long series of arts events including hands-on workshops, readings, theatre and music in the park as well as a Trade Show with booths featuring Eco Products and Nature Art as well as Products, Seeds, Food and Clothing that support Mother Earth.

To Sign up for an Eco Booth, please contact us. Fees are as Follows: $100 Nonprofit organizations/$75 with donation of Silent Auction item. $200 General Eco Booth fee, $175 with donation of Silent Auction item or Gift Certificate. Food Vendors $250. A special Arts Tent will be set up for hands-on arts Workshops. The Storytelling Tent will feature poetry readings and storytelling as well as signings and gatherings of the Arts Clan. There is a wonderful covered bandstand in the park that we will use for music events.

Special Festival events include:

  • A Corn Cooking Contest. Categories Include: Appetizers, Entrées, and Desserts & Miscellaneous. Contact the BBF for guidelines.
  • A Children’s Corn on the Cob Eating Contest.
  • Masa Harina Sculpture Workshop with Kathleen Chávez Page
  • Weaving and Painting Demonstrations with Miguel Ángel Díaz Guerreo and Pedro Martín Concepción
  • Construction of a Circular Maíz Ramada with willows from the Río Grande and last year’s corn stalks with Alejandro López and Balam.

Sunday, April 27 will feature a Special Celebration honoring La Madre Del Maíz with Balam, Alejandro López and Festival Artists. There will be a planting of Corn at Casa Camino Real, home of the Border Book Festival, with a procession in honor of the Corn Mother with music and song. We will prepare Atole and have a communal sharing. Participants are asked to bring a Corn Dish for a Community Potluck at Casa Camino Real.

For more information on the festival, please contact The Border Book Festival,
314 South Tornillo, Las Cruces, NM 88001. 575-523-3988.

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