Corrales author Rudy Miera has been named the Village’s poet laureate. Long a resident here, Miera was so designated by Mayor Jo Anne Roake last month, based on his volunteering with the Corrales Library. He is directing the library’s “I Love to Write” youth poetry contest, the results of which will be announced October 30, the birthday of the late Rudolfo Anaya, who Miera considers a mentor. The contest was open to persons in middle school and high school. Each poet was to begin with the phrase “Life in New Mexico is….”

“Mayor Roake asked me if I would consider being the poet laureate of Corrales,” he recalled. With that came a request to collaborate with the Corrales Library’s Melisa Chandler on the youth poetry contest. Three judges reviewed the submissions: Stacia Spragg-Braude, Mary Gerhart and Corrales Librarian Marian Frear. Author of several books, Miera’s recent novel, After Hours in Aztlan, was a finalist in a national competition for literature about Hispanic culture. It is on sale at the Frontier Mart, as are others he wrote.

Set in the 1970s, After Hours in Aztlan is a humorous story that focuses on young student revolutionaries’ attempts to right society’s ills. A blurb by Milagro Beanfield War author John Nichols for the novel published by Floricanto Press advises, “Hang on to our hats, folks, because Rudy J. Miera’s gang of student revolutionaries is on the loose, bumbling in their awkward but affecting way to Salvation.”

Albuquerque Journal writer Ollie Reed reviewed the novel this way. “Rudy J. Miera’s tale of youthful activism in 1970s New Mexico shines strong and true because it comes out of his own life and is burnished by his creative gifts.”  Miera’s play Adelita Sanchez: Harvey Girl was entered in the 2018 Latino Books into Movies competition.

Miera’s two-act play was first staged at the University of New Mexico experimental theater years ago to considerable acclaim, according to news reports at the time. Representatives of film studios and screenwriters were expected to attend the award ceremonies in Hollywood, Miera was told.

The play is set in Belen in 1945 when young Adelita Sanchez is hired as a waitress in the lunchroom at the local Harvey House. In his synopsis, Miera explains “Like other Hispanic and Native American women, this is her first job working away from her home and family farm in Jarales. “Taken under her wing by the matronly Miss Davenport, and embraced by her fellow Harvey Girls who work in the lunchroom of the train depot and live in the upstairs dormitory, Adelita observes the cultural exchanges and clashes of the era (that still resonate to this day).”

The girl is forced to take a transfer to the El Tovar Harvey House in the Grand Canyon. “The threats and prejudices from the outside world, as the War escalates, test and challenge the old ways, the cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs that have been passed on to Adelita and her generation by respected ancianos” like her grandfather, a local santero and poet.

Miera’s stage play script is in the drama category along with four other entries. The competition is a project of Latin Literacy Now, whose board chairman is actor Edward James Olmos. Last year, Miera published a satirical novel The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez which he described as a story of “rags to riches to rejection to redemption” for Sanchez as he tries and mostly fails, to make a living on the streets of Albuquerque. As a promo blurb for the book, acclaimed novelist Rudolfo Anaya (Bless Me, Ultima) wrote, “If you enjoy reading a story with authentic characters and a brilliant narrative style, then I highly recommend The Fall and Rise of Champagne Sanchez.”

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