EPCC English professor Lawrence Welsh celebrated the publication of his latest poetry/photography collaboration, “Cutting The Wire: Photographs and Poetry from the US-Mexico Border,” with a book signing at Literarity Book Shop last Saturday afternoon.
Joined by Bruce Berman, associate professor of photojournalism at New Mexico State University, who filled the pages with extraordinary photos of life along the borderlands, Welsh excitedly signed copies of the softbound text as fans lined up to visit with the author and photographer.
Bruce Berman, left, is joined by EPCC English professor, Lawrence Welsh, at a book signing last Saturday, as they celebrate publication of their collaboration, "Cutting The Wire:Photographs from the US-Meico Border."
Poet Ray Gonzalez, a literature professor at the University of Minnesota, also a contributor to the book, was not present.
“We’ve had an excellent turnout so far this afternoon,” Welsh said as both men personalized copies of the book with comments and signatures.
Welsh is the author of 10 poetry books, including the award-winning “Begging for Vultures: New and selected Poems, 1994-2009.” In 2011, Irish America magazine in New York City named him one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” of the year.
His poetry, fiction, reviews, essays and journalistic writings have appeared in more than 200 regional, national and international magazines, journals, newspapers and anthologies.
He was joined at the book signing by his wife and fellow EPCC faculty member, Lisa McNiel, associate professor of speech, who edited the book. A published poet herself, McNiel also works in theater as a director and actor.
“Pairing these poems and photographs was easier and more difficult than first thought,” McNiel writes in the book’s Editor’s Note. “I found myself occasionally doing audience analysis: Will an “outsider” get it? Berman, Gonzalez and Welsh capture … connectedness and separation … and allow us to break through and see combinations in new and startling ways.”
Berman has worked as a photojournalist for national and international publications for nearly half a century.
During the past 35 years, he has focused his photographic attention on the borderlands of El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juárez.
This spring, he will be teaching a course in documentary photojournalism at NMSU as a senior-level capstone seminar.
Gonzalez, who teaches in the University of Minnesota’s MFA Creative Writing Program, was recently awarded the Witter Brynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, chosen by the U.S. poet laureate. He and Welsh evenly share the roughly 120 pages with Berman’s photos.
The Literarity Book Shop, located in the Peppertree Square on El Paso’s Westside, opened last summer and is listed as the city’s only independent bookstore.
Interested readers can contact Welsh at his website, www.lawrencewelsh.com, or at email@example.com.