Dale Harris is a poet and potter who makes her home in central New Mexico. A native of Colorado who grew up on the East Coast, she also lived in south Florida for many years. She is a popular performer at many live poetry festivals in the Southwest.
David "Apple" Baker is a folk musician, providing delightful Native American flute accompaniment for Dale's poems in this CD "Cibola Seasons."
Both are sometime residents of a small, rough-around-the-edges art town, Mountainair, New Mexico, where ranching and railroading are the other main occupations. Cheap rents and drop-dead scenery lure lots of artists there, says Dale, "And most want to stay. It's quick to claim you. Even when you're on the road, it's easy to feel you're still there."
The poems in the Cibola Seasons collection are gentle on both the heart and the ear. They speak to the land, to seasonal changes, to the by-gone and imaginary places that make up a poet's geography of this most magical region. Lyric and whimsical at times, strong and centered consistently, Harris keeps the listener engaged in her process. Her voice is her instrument, a musical experience in itself. "In college, my sorority roommates always wanted me to talk them to sleep, tell them stories, because they said my voice was so soothing. At readings now, I'm often told I have a calming effect. Hey, I'm all for that! Let's talk to each other more."
A feminist and organizer for the women's liberation movement in the 60's and 70's, a health professional who worked in the Behavioral Health and HIV fields for over 2 decades, Harris has had her own seasons. "What's been important to me has been to really be there, in my own experience, during these incredible times I've been a part of - the terrible and the tremendous, the growth, the glory and the horror of all that we've seen in the past 50 plus years. Sometimes I've been aware of the significance, of being right in the middle of some breath-taking change; at other times, oblivious, only in hindsight realizing that an important social event had occurred."
There's a disclaimer though. "Can an artist make a difference? Is culture a context for more than itself? Blah, blah, blah. Walk out on the prairie and those kinds of questions just drift away. The land, the wild places, the immediacy of it, that's what's really going on. And it is precious beyond belief."