San Miguel Literary Sala - San Miguel Literary Sala, A.C. is a non-profit organization in Mexico

January 19, 2017: Poetry Café Bellas Artes

Date: Thursday, Janurary 19, 2017
Time: 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Location: Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”
Hernández Macías 75
Sala Literaria, 1st Floor

Admission: A donation of $50 pesos is suggested

Poetry Café Bellas Artes

One Voice, Many Voices

By Maia Williams

Poetry Café Bellas Artes will launch their second season on Thursday, January 19th by featuring three poets with strong ties to San Miguel de Allende: Lynn Learned, Ken Morrow, and Nan Williamson.

Early on in her career and shortly after the Watts riot, Lynn Learned created programs for Cross Cultural Communication through the Office of Economic Opportunity in Los Angeles. Later, she was invited to go to the Western Equatorial Pacific with John Kenneth Galbraith to assist in a series of economic meetings with important Palauan dignitaries that resulted in the Palauan’s working toward independent status with a Nuclear Free Constitution. Subsequently, she produced an award winning PBS television documentary, “Strategic Trust, The Making of Nuclear Free Palau” and was selected for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Series and won the Benton Film Peace Prize.

Trained as an artist with a Masters in Fine Art, Lynn’s vocation has centered on photography and film, but she has always written poems on the back of envelopes or scraps of paper. Poetry has been and is always with her.

Ken Morrow has worked hard as architect, sculptor, painter, furniture-maker, candle-maker, carpenter, bartender but never as hard as his current effort to define the verb “to write.” One entry in that definition is the preparation of a manuscript of recent poems with the working title, Uncertainty Principle. Another entry is his current exploration of poetry for multiple voices as spoken, dramatic narrative. For the January Poetry Café Ken will collaborate with his partnered readers, Lynn Learned and Nan Williamson, to present a group of poems written for multiple voices.

Nan Williamson is an artist, teacher, and author from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. She began her poetry journey in San Miguel in 2011 in classes led by Judyth Hill, who is still a mentor. Nan is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and The League of Canadian Poets. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines in Canada and the U.K. In 2013, she graduated from the prestigious Humber School for Creative Writing, Toronto. Her chapbook, leave the door open for the moon, was published by Jackson Creek Press in 2015, featuring hand-printed block illustrations throughout 40 hand-bound pages, a limited edition of 125 copies, signed and numbered. Recently, a copy was purchased for the Canadiana Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

Founded in January of 2016, Poetry Café Bellas Artes meets monthly, September through April. The all-volunteer community organization features local and visiting poets (established and emerging) sharing original work in a casual setting.

Please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is first come, first seated. Depending on the temperature, a cold or hot beverage will be served.

January 12, 2017: Laurie Gough’s and Florence Grende

Date: Thursday, January 12, 2017
Time: 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Location: Aldea Hotel
San Miguel de Allende


Book Launch Event! Two Authors Introduce New Books

Laurie Gough’s Stolen Child

We are very pleased to invite you to the Mexican book launch of Stolen Child: A Mother’s Journey to rescue Her Son from Obsessive Copulsive Disorder, by former San Miguel resident, author Laurie Gough.

Although Laurie Gough was an intrepid traveler and travel writer who’d explored wild, far-off reaches of the globe, the journey she and her family took in their own home in their small Quebec village proved to be far more frightening, strange and foreign than any land she had ever visited…

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

—William Butler Yeats, “The Stolen Child”

Early Reviews of Stolen Child:

“This moving story is highly recommended as a beacon of hope.”
— Publishers Weekly

“A gripping, shocking story…. will move you to tears…impossible to put down.”— Ottawa Citizen/Montreal Gazette

“Stolen Child is beautifully written and emotionally evocative, but it is not just about OCD. It is about the power of reason…and love…to overcome adversity, a book that belongs among the classics of parenting.”
— Michael Shermer, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, The Moral Arc, Publisher of Skeptic Magazine

“This book is an outstretched hand. A gift to anyone who has sought to understand the mysterious nature of OCD and its isolating, bewildering consequences. This is a tale of tenderness and devotion, a portrait of the importance of community, and a story of surprising, unexpected, light.”
— Alison Wearing, author of Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter and Honeymoon in Purdah

It’s a heartfelt story of a family transformed by OCD, told with compassion and honesty.”
— Jim Davies, cognitive scientist and author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One With the Universe

Praise for Laurie Gough’s Travel Memoirs:

“An enchanting guide, Gough is present, vulnerable, and delightful.”
— San Francisco Examiner

“Gough brings a boundless enthusiasm, openness and fundamentally romantic optimism to the world.”

“Gough records everything she sees with a subtle wit, a lyrical turn of phrase, and a remarkably open mind. Her writing is vigorous, sensual and visual. She sweeps the reader into her world.”
— The Globe and Mail

“A gifted storyteller, she writes a book very difficult to put down.”
— The National Post

“A curious traveller with a good ear for dialogue and a wild way with words, wrapping her account of travels in a vibrant poetry.”
— Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times (UK)

About Laurie Gough

Laurie GoughLaurie Gough is the author of the newly-released memoir, Stolen Child: A Mother’s Journey to Rescue Her Son from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Dundurn); Kiss the Sunset Pig: An American Road Trip with Exotic Detours (Penguin); and Kite Strings of the Southern Cross: A Woman’s Travel Odyssey (Random House, Travelers’ Tales), shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award in the U.K., and silver medal winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Travel Book of the Year in the U.S. Over twenty of her stories have been anthologized in literary travel books. She has been a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail, and has written for The Guardian, The L.A. Times, Maclean’s, The Walrus, USA Today,, Huffington Post, The National PostCanadian Geographic, among others. See:

Florence Grende’s The Butcher’s Daughter


What was it like to hide with your family in the dense forests of Poland for two long years, as my mother did, living in a hole in the ground, while alert, always alert, to the sounds of Nazis and their dogs?

How was it to be both hunter and hunted, as my father was, taking up arms, bartering for and stealing food, fighting for another day of life, wounded and recovering, while protecting others living in the forest — the old, the infirm, the children?

And what was it like for me after the war, growing up with these two people, Mameh and Tateh, my parents, who held their stories close. And each of us haunted by the dead? The Butcher’s Daughter, lays flesh on the bones of their stories, and on mine.

Praise for The Butcher’s Daughter

Many family memoirs and memoirs of survival and struggle fall short of depicting the very nuances they seek to bring to life; but this isn’t so in The Butcher’s Daughter. Florence Grende’s ability to lift the moments, impressions, thoughts, and passions from experience and capture them in their crystalline seconds of agony and ecstasy elevates her story above and beyond similar-sounding accounts, creating an singularly striking piece that doesn’t have to hammer home its message, because every whisper is a powerhouse of passion.
— Diane Donovan, Senior Editor, The Midwest Review

The Butcher’s Daughter is a deeply personal account of growing up in the aftermath of atrocity. It is not only the clearest view we are ever likely to get of the myriad and intimate ways that trauma is inherited and suffering passed on, it is also witness to the fact that the strength it takes to prevail is also part of that inheritance. Luminous and profound, ferocious and sublime, The Butcher’s Daughter will move you beyond measure.
— Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Love & Fury.

Florence Grende’s heartrending account of her Jewish upbringing, a child of Holocaust survivors, weaves a story of pain and sorrow, fear and anger, and the hidden melancholy, the depression that makes monsters out of otherwise ordinary people. The Butcher’s Daughter is a memoir that speaks for those too traumatized to voice their stories: the survivors and their children…This is more than just a memoir. It’s a testament: a statement of a life shattered because of a brutal war. Hitler’s evil affected more than just those who lived through it. His evil stretched into the next generation, not just amongst the Jews, but also amongst the children and the grandchildren of high ranking Nazis. A powerful story told with compassion. A must-read.
— Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite

Florence Grende’s memoir wields the keen, bracing edge of utter honesty. Faced with the unfathomable suffering of the Shoah, as represented by the lives of her survivor parents, she writes of the bits and pieces of rage, endurance, bafflement, grief and the will to live. Here is a story of a woman trying to move forward in the new land of America but who has been raised with the shades of the European dead for company. The terse, poetic prose makes the reader feel what it was like to grow up and live with silences that truly were unspeakable.
— Baron Wormser, Poet Laureate of Maine, 2000-2006, author of The Road Washes Out  in Spring : A Poet’s Memoir of Living off the Grid, Impenitent Notes.

In a clear voice that manages to be both haunted and compassionate, Grende reminds us that “Monster and victim can be one and the same.” Tackling subjects as harsh as war and family dysfunction, she writes with exquisite attention to sound and prose rhythms, reminding us, as all masterful writers do, that what you say matters because of how you say it. What a stunning debut.
— Barbara Hurd , author of Listening to the Savage: On River Notes and Half-heard Melodies.

The Butcher’s Daughter is one of the most compelling memoirs I have read and one that I highly recommend.
— Doug Erlandson, Top 50 Amazon Reviewer

About Florence Grende

Florence GrendeFlorence Grende was born in American Occupied Germany to Holocaust survivor parents and grew up in the Bronx. As a young woman, she earned a Master of Social Work degree, and later, at age sixty, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. The Butcher’s Daughter is her debut book. She hardly considers herself a late bloomer having pursued careers first as a therapist, then an AT&T union worker, a mixed-media artist, and Jewish Film Festival creator/organizer.

She holds an MFA from the Stonecoast writing program at the University of Southern Maine. Her stories and poems have appeared in “Litro MagazineBabel Fruit, Poetica, The Sun, The Berkshire Review, The Women’s Times, and in the anthologies Robot Hearts: True and Twisted Tales of Seeking Love in the Digital Age, and The Widow’s Handbook: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival.

December 15, 2016: Poetry Café Bellas Artes

Date: Thursday, December 15, 2016
Time: 5:00 p.m.

Location: Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”
Hernández Macías 75
Sala Literaria, 1st Floor

Admission: A donation of $50 pesos is suggested

Poetry Café Bellas Artes To Host “Open Mic”

By Maia Williams

Calling all poets! San Miguel’s Poetry Café kicks off the winter season with an “Open Mic” on Thursday, December 15th at 5:00 PM at Bellas Artes. This is one of the monthly events (September–April) produced by Poetry Café Bellas Artes.

Poets are asked to arrive at Sala Literaria Bellas Artes at 4:30 PM on Thursday, December 15th. There will be a sign-up sheet at the door. Each poet is asked to prepare up to four minutes of poetry, including introductory remarks. Fifteen slots will be available. At our first Open Mic in July, all slots were filled in a matter of minutes.

Poetry Slam. Photo by Armida Zepeda.

Photo by Armida Zepeda.

Since it’s inaugural event in January of this year, the San Miguel Poetry Café has featured a variety of established and emerging poets from San Miguel de Allende and beyond. We welcome members of the community and visitors to participate, as presenting poets and as members of the audience.

Please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is first come, first seated. Depending on the weather, a cold or hot beverage will be available.