Acclaimed poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove wrote, "By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other."

In this same spirit, community members of Santa Fe and Albuquerque will gather to share poems they love during National Poetry Month in April. The readings are hosted by the UNM English Department and the Institute of American Indian Arts and are directed by award-winning poet and UNM professor Luci Tapahonso. The readings begin at 6 p.m. on Friday evenings: UNM Zimmerman Library (Willard Room) on April 5 and in the Waters Room, also at Zimmerman on April 19, and at IAIA (CLE Commons) on April 12 and April 26. The events are free, open to the public and a reception will follow.

The "My Favorite Poem" Project is based on former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's initiative in 1998 that was held in major cities and featured thousands of readers from all walks of life including school children, business owners, civic leaders, teachers, college students, spiritual leaders, ranchers and media personalities.

Readers on April 5 (Willard Room) include Monte Vista students Lily Rosano-Mueller and Arden Burkett, English Chair Gail Houston, Associate Dean Phillip Ganderton, Escuela del Sol student Samiyah Dezbah James, National Dance Institute Director Russell Baker, English Lecturer Kyle Fiore, UNM Accountant Misty Dawn Ortiz, Dr. Doris Fields, Librarian Maria Teresa Marquez, Poet Demetria Martinez. Novelist and IAIA Professor Evalina Zuni Lucero.

Readers on April 19 (Waters Room) include SIPI President Dr. Sherry Allison, Columnist David Steinberg, UNM Publicist Carolyn Gonzales, MFA students Adam Nunez and Natalie Scenters- Zapico, UNM Libraries Dean Martha Bedard, UNM Bookstore Events Coordinator Lani Taylor, West End Publisher John Crawford, and Associate Dean Kevin Malloy and NM Centennial Poet Levi Romero.

Tapahonso, who previously organized Favorite Poem projects in Lawrence, Kan. and Tucson, Ariz., said that the readings reveal the importance of poetry in our personal histories and how sharing poems can strengthen a community's sense of culture and place. "We often turn to poetry in moments of elation, gratitude, loss or fear, and this is a wonderful opportunity to share with others the ways in which particular poems speak to us," Tapahonso said.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: