Maternal Mitochondria!

Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan have a few upcoming shows and workshops this summer! We will be back at the Japanese Cultural Festival on May 11th, offering a free demo of suminagashi printing. The festival is at the Santa Fe Convention Center and costs $5 for adults, free for children under 12. Visit Santa Fe Jin’s website for more information. Then on June 8th, we will be presenting on our work as the art collective Maternal Mitochondria from 1 pm to 3 pm for Santa Fe Book Arts Group. This is free and open to the public. This will be followed on June 9 by a workshop on suminagashi & poetry from 9 am to 4 pm. The workshop is $75 and is only open to members of BAG. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact BAG directly at And finally, from June 21st-August 24th our work will be featured in a group show at the Peters Project gallery, “Speaking to the Imagination: The Contemporary Artist’s Book.” Looking forward to seeing some of you at these events!

-Isabel and Miriam

More info from BAG:

Please note : there are a few remaining spaces if you know anyone who would like to attend.
Thanks. Laura Wait

Class Size: Limited to 12 participants. Cost: $ 75. To register, send a check for $75 payable to BAG, to Laura Wait, 108 Calle Francisca, Santa Fe, NM 87507.

Workshop: Suminagashi & Poetry:

Sunday, June 9, 9-4 at the College in the Fine Arts Building Room #710.

The workshop will teach each participant to create suminagashi, Japanese inspired marbling, on paper. We will work with low impact materials—water trays, ink, and inexpensive paper. We will also create poetry based on “weathergrams”—short poems about the environment and our inner selves. The workshop will be structured so that text and marbling can be combined for a final product. You will have pieces to take home that can be collaged, used in book making, or hung as ephemeral to weather out into the atmosphere. We will provide all materials, but here is an overview if you want supplies to continue this practice—

Presentation: Maternal Mitochondria

Saturday, June 8, 1-3. Board room.
The Collaborative mother/daughter duo of writer Miriam Sagan and multi-media artist Isabel Winson-Sagan will share their projects. These include an art/poetry trail off of Route 14, collaborative public art piece in the Santa Fe Railyard, video, installation piece in an ancient silo in Japan, renga, and numerous geocaches. Their meditative studio practice is based on a contemporary version of suminagashi, Japanese style marbling, and free writing.. In addition to showing images and discussing our process we will have samples of our work and some free giveaway broadsides and books.

Poetry for the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble

Commission sponsors Jim and Pauline Toevs, and poet Miriam Sagan and composer David Beatty. The Ensemble says: It was so exciting to sing “Mementos of the Compass of Time” for the first time for them!

Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble

In our spring concert, the Women’s Ensemble is thrilled to join with the Durango Women’s Choir, directed by Linda Mack Berven, to explore the many ways we connect with one another, through the music of Stroope, Ellingboe, Guillaume, Sacchini and Brahms. The highlight of the concert will be the premiere of our beautiful new commission, Mementos of the Compass of Time, composed by David Beatty and featuring poetry of Miriam Sagan.

Spring Concert

With the Durango Women’s Choir directed by Linda Mack Berven.

First Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

The process on this has been interesting. I haven’t worked with musicians since my punk band Poetry Devils in the 1980’s! I gave composer David Beatty a kind of “text”–not a fixed poem. He did some editing and we revised and changed things. The piece is in the classic structure of the four seasons.
Last week I attended a rehearsal. The music is truly lovely! It was also emotionally touching to watch the singers. This being a small town, I’ve known many of them in different contexts. And this being Santa Fe, I know that what I experience–aspens turning yellow on a mountainside, cycles of wind and rain–is familiar to them as well.

“To remember
is also to forget.”

Why “Just Write” Isn’t Exactly Sophisticated Advice by Miriam Sagan

Why “Just Write” Isn’t Exactly Sophisticated Advice

Although I’ve benefited from this advice—and no doubt given it—I’m starting to think it isn’t specific enough. And that’s because advice could be more tailored to who the writer is:

1. A professional or well-trained writer who feels “blocked.”
2. A person who has “always wanted” to be a writer.
3. Someone suffering from writing anxiety.

I have no idea how I learned to write. I can create a romantic version of my experience—dyslexic failing elementary school, strict but kind teacher, discovering poetry, etc. etc. But this may all be hindsight.

And so, “just write” may be good for the person who knows how to write but just can’t at the moment. This approach tends to the quick and spontaneous, to overriding self criticism, and to productivity. However, as a person who “wrote” at least three failed novels, I can say that filling pages really isn’t enough.
To write, a person must also read—and eventually, read as a writer. This involves deepening your relationship to structure, and actually understanding—on several levels—how a piece of writing is made.

For all three of the classic genres—non-fiction, fiction, and poetry—it is essential to know the rules of structure. And love those rules, engage with them, fight them, incorporate them.

So for the person who has always wanted to write—I suggest just that—reading and studying. Then writing. Then the uncomfortable questions—do I like this? Is this for me?

The bottom line is: I wish I’d learned earlier that writing is a relationship. Yes, it is a set of ancient productive craft rules, combined with pure effort. But it can also be showing off, slacking off, rebellion, and acquiescence.

And that is how I’d address anxiety. Get close. Don’t over analyze. Let the creative process soothe you.

Like all relationship, you tend to get what you give. But sometimes what you give may have to be partial, conflicted, or just plain weird.

That should work too.

Haiku by Tricia Knoll

taxes and haiku
glut of paper
on a very old table

A unique haiku–possibly one of the few to deal with taxes! But “taxes and haiku” both speak of imperatives–one practical and one expressive. As a human being, the poet has to deal with both. The reader can easily see the papers scattered about, perhaps even inter-mixing. I like to think of the poet switching from one to the other–if the haiku isn’t working, a break to focus on numbers. The last line, to me, makes the haiku. It’s time honored to do certain work not at a desk but at a kitchen table. That “very old” table implies a patina of time and use. Maybe it is in a study, but I see it more in the middle of the life of a household.
As tax deadlines approach, I’ll think of this. The deadlines for haiku are just as they ask to be written.

Venice Beach Poets

The Venice Beach Poet’s Monument consists of four concrete walls engraved with 18 verses written by some of the neighborhood’s best-known poets. Jim Morrison and Charles Bukowski are among the more famous scribes represented,

Also represented, Wanda Coleman. Here is a sample from her published work.

About God & Things

By Wanda Coleman
i want to have your child
cuz upon losing you
i’ll have more than memory
more than ache
more than greatness
i’ll have laughter

Daughter by Isabel Winson-Sagan


on your brow I see
the maps and flags of places
you’ve never been– human migration
across tundra and the sea.

You wrinkle your nose and cry like a cat


perhaps last time you made that noise you were under the stars, people in tents with goats, cutting themselves with sharp stones.

Everyone who holds you
ss unnerved by your fragility, your newness

but they’re forgetting

you were born in blood

pulled on a rope

memories lovingly
washed away by Charon before
setting foot back on this side.

You leapt from unborn to newly born
you walked across a narrow bridge
without fear
and all you know is strength

my tiny warrior
my heart
my woman for a new age.