Program Overview

Mission Statement | Graduate Assistantships | La Sociedad Para las Artes | Puerto del Sol

Writers in the Schools | Annual Hunger Benefit | Din Magazine

Mission Statement

Our mission is to emphasize the creation and critical analysis of literature, so that our students can be part of the national conversation about writing, graduating with a publishable manuscript. By providing our students with a set of skills, we prepare them to contribute to their communities as writers, publishing professionals and teachers.

Back to Top

Graduate Assistanships

Each year a limited number of graduate assistantships are available for qualified students. To be eligible, students must have regular admission status certified by NMSU's Graduate School. The graduate stipend for 2012-2013 is $16,100 for the academic year for master's students. An assistantship requires twenty hours of work per week; normally this includes teaching one course and performing additional duties such as working in the writing center, working on the department's publications, or other instructional assignments. For the first year, Graduate Assistants pay tuition at the in-state tuition rate. After the first year, Graduate Assistants will be responsible for establishing New Mexico residency so that they can continue to pay tuition at the in-state rate.

Back to Top

La Sociedad Para las Artes

For over 25 years, La Sociedad para las Artes has acted as the main outreach organization for the English department. Every year, the organization hosts free evening readings of national caliber, of readers who also offer manuscript consultation to graduate students and craft talks to high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and community members. Since 1996, we have offered a Writers-in-the-Schools (WITS) program, a creative writing arts program supporting our impoverished school system with one of the lowest literacy scores in the country. Finally, our annual hunger benefit, part of a nation-wide movement where writers coordinate reading events to raise money to fight hunger, is in its 14th year, having raised at least $60,000 for Casa de Peregrinos, a local food bank. La Sociedad's priorities are to interface with the school system and the community, helping to tear down boundaries between "town" and "gown." As part of a major research university in one of the poorest counties in the country, La Sociedad seeks out opportunities to involve the English department locally, in order to increase public access to our university, making positive connections between all involved. These connections, benefiting the community as they do, also improve our university, since social responsiveness makes NMSU a more flexible, active organization, qualities that generate vital kinds of research.

Back to Top

Puerto del Sol

Puerto del Sol, now in its 47th year of publication, is the journal of the English Department at New Mexico State University dedicated to providing a forum for innovative poetry, prose, drama, criticism and artwork from emerging and established writers and artists. For more information, visit the Puerto del Sol website for more information.

Back to Top

Writers in the Schools

Through this program La Sociedad and the Creative Writing Program at NMSU are funded to send MFA students in Fiction and Poetry into local school classrooms for ten hours a semester to provide an enrichment program. The goal of the program is to encourage both an appreciation and application of creative writing that gives students the opportunity to discuss, interpret and express themselves through poetry and fiction writing exercises. While lessons are geared towards aspects of creative writing, MFA students may be able to develop lessons that incorporate the themes already present in the class and will be willing to work with teachers to adapt lessons which fit the needs of the class. This is an incredible program which provides valuable experiences both for the students and the writers.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowmentfor the Arts.

Back to Top

Annual Hunger Benefit

Every fall, La Sociedad para las Artes organizes a benefit reading for Casa de Peregrinos, an emergency food bank in Las Cruces that feeds thousands of hungry mouths each year. To date, La Sociedad has raised close to $60,000 for this organization over the 14 years the benefit has been running.

Featured readers have included ZZ Packer, Charles D'Ambrosio, Kevin McIlvoy, Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, and Charles Bowden. A silent auction runs congruent with the readings and a lively reception with live music is held afterwards.An annual chili cookoff pits graduate students against faculty in a fierce and tasty competition.

The evening is unfailingly a good time, bringing together community-minded people with a passion for literature, art, music and throwing back a few cold ones in a loud, dark bar. Please support our upcoming Hunger Benefits by buying or selling tickets, attending the event, publicizing it, bidding on auction items, or donating auction and door prizes. Because it is a community event, everyone's efforts are not only welcome but needed.

Back to Top

Din Magazine

An Online Journal of Literature and Fine Art

Din is the noise made by the undergraduates at New Mexico State University, coming to you every year delivering literature and art by new authors to new audiences.

But Din is bigger than us. Din is the blending of individuals and community, a commotion of ideas, a cacophony of senses, an excess of tastes both savory and sweet. Din is a noisy kitchen at work, the clatter of dinner plates that means the first bite of blueberry pie is about to meet your tongue. Din is our organizational strategy and our aesthetic; we serve up a reading experience, showcasing work that combines artistry with immediacy, the pure experience and the accompanying noise.

Check out the ongoing work at the Din website.

Back to Top