U.S. Poets in Mexico
U.S. Poets in Mexico was founded in 2008 by artist and poet Sheila Lanham as a fiscally sponsored not-for-profit.
The USPiM Poetry Conference attracts poets who are creative writing professors at colleges across America, published poets, MFA Creative Writing graduates or candidates, undergraduate poets, and poets wishing to brush up on skills or connect with their peers. Even as our program expands each year, we continue to maintain a policy of no more than ten persons per workshop. Our guest poets are committed to quality learning.
USPiM is the first poetry conference to travel around Mexico introducing poets from both countries. Each year, we offer excursions to archaeological sites, ecological sites and other cultural venues in Mexico - going beyond the classroom - so that poets can establish a sense of place and become familiar with Mexican culture. We also sponsor occasional Translation Residencies.
Each year, we invite a few regional poets to join us and integrate the conference with local poetry communities. USPiM also sponsors free public readings by our faculty, guests, and contemporary Mexican poets.
We are fortunate to share a love of poetry with Mexico. We invite you to join us for classes or free public readings and experience the "magic" that so many of our participants have described in our Testimonials!
***Thanks go out those who have helped USPiM provide our workshops over the years: Fernando de la Cruz (Merida), Zureya Esma (Merida), Jonathan Harrington (Merida), Marc Nasdor (NYC), Laurie Price (Oaxaca), Nandi Comer (Detroit), and thanks to all of our wonderful venues in Mexico!
What makes our poetry conference unique?
Our intimate and intensive poetry workshops focus on expanding ideas for new work.
U.S. and Mexican poets meet, discover each others' writing and, we hope: collaborate!
Our faculty, guests and featured readers include poets from a variety of contemporary poetry movements.
A translator (often of Latin American literature) offers a Translation Workshop at every conference.
We highlight the poetry of indigenous peoples and explore their culture.
We include visits to cultural venues and archaeological sites to establish a sense of place and an understanding of local culture.
The USPiM Poetry Conference sponsors FREE public readings by all faculty, guests and featured Mexican poets.
Each year, we invite a regional Mexican poets to participate and integrate our event with local literary communities.
sheila lanham- Founder and Director
Sheila is a painter and a poet. She is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently, Smoke Shadows (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and a chapbook, Baltimore: Blues and Greens. She is included in A Gathering of Voices: An Anthology of Baltimore Poets (Dolphin Moon Press). She was co-editor for several years of The Pearl: A Baltimore Literary Journal. She studied poetry at the New School for Social Research. Inspired and encouraged by artist Larry Rivers, she turned to studying art at the School of Visual Arts, and was a painting major at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Sheila previously organized archives and/or was personal assistant for NYC-based contemporary artists, including French artist Arman, Dutch artist Karel Appel, Donald Baechler, Jane Freilicher, other artists and poet Kenneth Koch. Sheila grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. She visited Zihuatanejo, Mexico in 1978 with Rivers, the first of many visits to Mexico in the following years. She founded U.S. Poets in Mexico in 2008. Her goal with USPiM was multifaceted. She wanted to give poets an opportunity to create new work in Mexico with both well-known and emerging poets. She also wanted to introduce Mexican and American poets, provide translation opportunities, and emphasize the excellent literary culture in Mexico which she felt was vastly under exposed in the United States. She wanted to explore regional Mexican cultures, indigenous peoples, and share that experience. She lives in New York City and Oaxaca. Art website An interview at The Merida Review
Oaxaca 2016, January: Major Jackson, Eileen Myles, Charles Alexander, Mark Statman, Susan Briante, Pedro Serrano Poetas Mexicanos: Tedi Lopez Mills (CDMN), Pedro Serrano (CDMX), Efrain Velasco Sosa (Oaxaca), Victor Teran (Zapotec language, Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca) Fellowship Award: Devreaux Baker; Mexico Awards: Haydee Ramos Cadena, Yendi Ramos, Clyo Mendoza Hererra, (Oaxaca) & Ana Teran, Ana Franco, Helena Moguel, Ximena Rojo de la Vega (CDMX)
Oaxaca 2014: Andrei Codrescu, Ron Silliman, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Anselm Berrigan, Catherine Wagner, Translation: Clare Sullivan Poetas Mexicanas: Maria Baranda (Mexico City), Natalia Toledo (Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca; Mexico City), Rocío González (Oaxaca/Mexico City), Guadalupe Ángela (Oaxaca), Fellowship Award: Leah Silvieus; Mexico Awards: Oscar Tanat (Oaxaca)
Merida 2013: Tom Sleigh, Ron Silliman, Nicole Cooley, Lynn Emanuel, Mark Weiss, Translation: Suzanne Jill Levine Poetas Mexicanos: Mario Bojórquez (Puebla), Álvaro Solís (Puebla), Rubén Márquez Máximo (Puebla), Ambar Past (San Cristobal de las Casas) and Maruch Mendes Peres (Chiapas, Tsotzil Mayan language), Gabriel Magana Merlo (Guadalajara), Fellowship Award: Emilia PhillipsMexico Award: Fernando de la Cruz
Tulum 2011: Diane Wakoski, Jerome Rothenberg, Paul Hoover, Mark Weiss, Translation: Jen Hofer Poetas Mexicanos: Luis Cortés Bargalló (Mexico City), Rocío Cerón (Mexico City), Carla Faesler (Mexico City) , Feliciano Sánchez Chan (Merida, Mayan language) Fellowship Award: Mary Kasimor, MFA Translation Award: Alice Jennings; Mexico Awards: Victor Vivas, Chany Castro Polanco (Cozumel) and Ana Mar Morena Perez (Playa del Carmen), Addy Garcia Guerrero (PdC), Berenice Moreno (PdC), Rosa María Adame Aspinwall (PdC)
Merida 2010: Mark Doty, Anne Waldman, Martin Espada, Translation: Pedro Serrano Poetas Mexicanos: Pura López-Colomé (Mexico City), José Vicente Anaya (Mexico City), Pedro Serrano (Mexico City), Bricieda Cuevas Cob (Campeche, Mayan language), Fellowship Award: Jennifer Perrine, Mexico Awards: Omar Gongora Guzman, Fernando de la Cruz, Melissa Larios Luna, Raul Moarquech Ferrera-Balanquet (Merida)
Merida 2009: C. D. Wright, Forrest Gander, Bob Holman, Jack Collom, Translation: Mónica de la Torre Poetas Mexicanas: Coral Bracho (Mexico City), Mónica de la Torre (NYC), Valerie Mejer (San Miguel de Allende), Bricieda Cuevas Cob (Campeche, Mayan language), Mexico Awards: Fernando de la Cruz, Christian Nunez Tello, David Ele Loria Araujo, Melisa Grisel Bermudez (Merida)
Photo: USPiM Merida, January 2009 Conference: Briceida Cuevas Cob, a Mayan language poet from Campeche, receives a hug from USPiM faculty member, poet Bob Holman, who founded the Endangered Language Alliance with linguists Daniel Kaufman and Juliette Blevins the following year.