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Compilation of NMSU alumni published work

New Mexico State University’s alumni continually distinguish themselves in many realms and literature is one of them. Here are some notable published books from NMSU graduates:

Carrie Murphy, Class of 2011
“Pretty Tilt”
Keyhole Press

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123706

Carrie Murphy earned a master’s in creative writing in 2011 with a concentration in poetry. Her poetry book, “Pretty Tilt,” is the thesis she wrote and presented at NMSU. “I was inspired to write poems about the experience of growing up female, about the crazy, dirty, messy and beautiful wonder that is teenage girlhood,” she said. “At the time, I was interested in a school of poetry called the Gurlesque, which depicts the grotesque/burlesque side of the feminine experience, and I became influenced by it.” Her poetry makes references to the early 2000s, combining Drew Barrymore movies and Britney Spears songs with them a raw and honest feminist depiction of female adolescence. “I’d like readers of my book of poems to see that poetry doesn't have to be boring or difficult. It can be funny and sexy and very true to life. I'd also like them to come away with a greater appreciation for the complexity of being a teenage girl,” she said.

Kelsie Hahn Cleboski, Class of 2013
Lit House Press

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123700

Cleboski is a graduate of the NMSU MFA program, and her chapbook, “Responsibility,” is comprised of a selection of stories from her NMSU thesis. “My time at NMSU was a big part of bringing this book together,” she said. “Animals, pets and the ways we interact with them have been an enduring interest in my writing, so this chapbook also represents a small cross-section of how those themes crop up in my fiction.” Her book explores people’s fascination of looking for themselves in animals or pets. “We look for signs of emotion and intelligence that mean we have those things too. Many characters in this collection use animals to prove something about themselves,” she added. “I hope readers laugh, think, feel weird or a little creeped out at times. It’s a strange little book.”

Patrick F. Rooney, Class of 1982
“The Acheron Deception”
Savoir Press

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123715

Rooney received a Masters of Science in electrical engineering, but his fascination with fiction stories, especially thrillers, took him a different direction. This fast-paced action thriller makes symbolic references to Dante’s “Inferno,” adding another dimension to the story for people familiar with Dante's nine circles of hell. “There were some very odd stock market trades just prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks; trades that made someone a huge amount of money after the markets crashed. It seems reasonable, based on my work developing data mining systems, that trades like these could be monitored to serve as a warning for a pending attack,” he said.

Paula Moore, Class of 1989
“Matinee and Evening: The Story of Actors Abby Lewis and John Seymour”
Brighton Publishing, LLC

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123703

Moore stumbled onto Abby Lewis' archived material in the Institute of Historical Survey Foundation's archive in Mesilla Park. “Even though I had never heard of her, I was hooked immediately by her personality. She had kept her letters, diaries, and photographs, as well as John Seymour's. So both their lives were opened to me in those pages,” she said. Abby Lewis, earned a bachelor’s at NMSU in 1932, and made her Broadway debut in 1933. She was a success in stage roles, in the golden age of radio, as well as leading TV shows and TV and print commercials for nationally known corporations. “Abby was the daughter of locally famous preacher Lewis of St. James Episcopal Church in Mesilla Park, whereas John practically grew up on Broadway, a handsome member of a theatre dynasty family,” she explained. “The unlikely couple found unconditional love and sustained support in their careers of choice.”
The book reads like a Who's Who in American theatre, because of John's memories from stages beginning in 1918 and the friendships they made with many stars from the 1920s through the 1980s. The book details the story of their romance, challenged by John's first wife, his two children and Abby’s concerned family.

Gary Beene, Class of 1974
“God’s Avatars”
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123697

Beene was studying the history of democide when he came across Rudolph Rummel’s definition, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii. He describes as it the murder of people by a government. “The research led me to believe that Dr. Rummel was partially incorrect. Concentrated political power is not the most dangerous thing on earth, but rather, men who claim to speak on behalf of the Gods are the most dangerous things on earth. “God’s Avatars: The Betrayal of Belief,” tells the story of this pathological use of religions down though the ages.”

Jessica Powers, Class of 1994
“Colors of the Wind”
Purple House Press

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123712

Jessica Powers graduated from NMSU with a degree in English and Creative Writing. Her collaboration with George Mendoza, who illustrates the book, earned them a nomination by the American Library Association as finalist for the Schneider Family Book Award, which honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. “When I first met George Mendoza, to interview him for an art magazine in northern New Mexico, I was amazed by his art and his story. We quickly became friends. The story of George Mendoza is inspiring from start to finish,” Powers said. “All young people go through dramatic changes that, at times, makes them feel like their life might be over. Mendoza’s story takes that as the starting point. He went blind when he was 15 but he went on not only to “overcome” his blindness as a runner who broke the world record for running the mile, but he “used” his blindness to launch his career as an artist.” The book has a powerful message: “Don’t ever let what some people consider your weakness, or challenge, or even disability, stop you from doing what you feel called to do,” she said. “If there’s a second lesson, it might be the idea that your weakness can actually become your unique talent.”

Robert Alan Wendeborn, Class of 2011
“The Blank Target”
The Lettered Streets Press

Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123872

Wendeborn received a bachelor’s in history in 2008 and in 2011, a master’s in fine arts in creative writing, both from NMSU. His strong distaste for romantic love and modernism was the inspiration behind his poetry book, “The Blank Target.” “It is several series and sequences of poems written to an absent beloved,” he said. “It explores identity, sexuality, and love through ungendered apostrophe. It quickly switches between emotional states using humor and hyperbole, mimicking the pain of losing a lover.”

Joseph T. Page II, Class of 2000
“Vandenberg Air Force Base”
Arcadia Publishing
Click link to see book cover: http://photo.nmsu.edu/scripts/viewImage.php?id=123709

Page, graduated from NMSU in 2000. Soon after, he joined the U.S. AirForce, and was stationed in Vandenberg Air Force Base, which stretches over 35 miles over the coast of California, covering 99,000 acres. “Vandenberg Air Force Base” boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories from the base. Page details the history of base, including details and photographs of its critical role during the Cold War as well as its Space and Missile Heritage Center. “I hope this book will invite members of the Vandenberg family, past and present, to share their stories of triumphs and tragedies that have taken place on the central coast,” Page said.