Albuquerque author Kate Padila launches her new poetry collection, Apples Rot on the Ground, via virtual Zoom with Bookworks.
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Kate Padilla’s edgy writings recall her Taos birthplace, and growing up in conservative Wyoming, where her parents had relocated for work.
She’s bilingual, a University of Wyoming graduate, worked as a journalist in both in radio and print, and subsequently became a U.S.senator’s aide in Washington, D.C. where she was involved in wilderness designation legislation. Padilla later transferred to the federal Bureau of Land Management, first, as an environmental planner, and then as Field Manager in Socorro, New Mexico, for seven years until her retirement in 2005.
Padilla’s words reflect contradictory worlds, among generations in Taos, life in industrial southwest Wyoming and learning the complexities of working in the federal government. After leaving her career path, she’s taken graduate courses in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico, reviewed books for Authorlink.com for fifteen years and in 2017 she was a Pushcart nominee from New Mexico for her poetry.
Over the past 30 years, she and spouse Paul Krza have periodically traveled, for several weeks, on unplanned and unexpected journeys, to places like Gjirokastër, Albania; Sofia, Bulgaria; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Havana, Cuba. She’s also spent considerable time in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where her spouse recently gained citizenship.
About Apples Rot on the Ground:
Stark, poignant and gut-wrenching poems detailing the racism and bigotry that existed for Hispanic families in early New Mexico & Wyoming. Padilla's voice rings vivid and true, establishing herself as a poet whose work is worth returning to again and again.--Marjorie St.Clair, author of Wild Women Write: Re-Connecting with the Wild Feminine; writing teacher & coach.
This short collection spans an astonishing array of gifted storytelling based on memories that punch then expand the heart. Weaving as a river through Wyoming to New Mexico, Padilla's images are both stark and rich. In this wo-manifesto collection, the "podium" is Padilla's, as she, fearless, screeches then soothes in lyrics of her rise to Latina strength, perseverance and individuality while challenging "the vaulted secrets of machismo." Each poem seems to ask "how many lives have important stories that have never been told?" As I read the last line of Padilla's collection, I want more...--Mary Dezember, Professor of English and author of Earth-Maked Like You and Still Howling
Apples Rot on the Ground opens bluntly and without apology as Kate Padilla plants a flag for herself and the women who preceded her. "We aren't what we was / back then," Padilla asserts, "when my mother was / told when to breathe, and when she winced / afraid, when he called her a bitch / a word he learned from other beasts." This poet doesn't wince evoking hardship. Or plenty, as in, "Taos Harvest," the celebration of abundance from which she takes her title: "apples rotting on the ground, / so many trees bearing fruit, / acequias overflowing." Claiming a family name she can trace to Spanish soldiers spilling Aztec blood, Padilla claims the more recent past of her sheepherding father, of cold Wyoming winters, the harsh cold of racist neighbors, of schoolyard toughness learned too young: "We finger brass knuckles, / push forward / over dry aspen leaves, / power in our pockets." Here is a world of difficult men, sometimes violent, sometimes unfaithful men--and of women who do what they can, who do what they must. Among my favorite images is this one, of a woman declaring her independence: "My mother stuffed her wedding dress / into the alley trash can and lit a match.---David Meischen, Co-founder, Dos Gatos Press
Table of Contents:
Bitch (sestina) 1
Vanishing History 3
My Name Is Padilla 4
First Memory 5
Forbidden Friend 7
School Yard Gangland 1950 8
Nothing to be Thankful For 10
Alonzo the Shoeshine Boy (pantoum) 11
El Vato and The Bees 12
Wyoming Neighborhood 13
Bath Day 14
A Santo Protects My Mother 15
Taos Harvest (sestina) 17