2010 Poetry Society of America George Bogin Memorial Award

“Cochiti Lake, 1989”

Judge: Hettie Jones

“Drawn immediately to the imagery in Sawnie Morris’s poem, upon second look I thought that what held me most was its rhythm, the sure line, how the poem used the space on the page to lead the reader in. But as I read “Cochiti Lake, 1989” over and over (aloud, too), I decided that even though all these accomplishments proved unfailingly true, what finally makes this poem work so well, and why I find it so deserving, is its own living presence, its connecting of the personal with the political, the singular to the plural, how it reaches from one breathing body to another. Olson taught that the poem is an energy transfer from the poet to the reader. Here we have energy aplenty. What we didn’t know of cadmium, cesium, hexavalent chromium and all the rest, we must now accept—in ourselves in the body politic, in the body of the earth we have oppressed Sawnie Morris fulfills, on all fronts, the mission of the George Bogin Award: “We didn’t know…where we could no longer swim/where and what we could no longer drink,” she writes, and leads us from water to the inevitable: “Consider…being ‘re-suspended in high winds.'”

Hettie Jones, Author of beat generation memoir, How I Became Hettie Jones, and the Poetry Society Award-winning collection, Drive; as well as All Told, Doing 70, and The Trees Stand Shining: Poetry of the North American Indians; founding editor with her then husband (LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka) of Yugen


“Sawnie Morris’ workshops are profound experiences. She creates a powerful and positive space within which poets (and poetry) can flourish.  A poet, no matter if beginner or seasoned, does not come out of one unchanged.”

Jen Acampora, poet

“Sawnie Morris is that rarest of souls who is gifted as both an extraordinary poet and an exceptional teacher. She shines witness on all voices with an intelligent sense of craft, X-ray ears, and a heart as big as the high desert sky. I work with her whenever possible–and find that I’m a deeper, better writer every time. I’ve studied with a wide, wide range of teachers, and Sawnie is among the best of the best.”

Kate O’Neill, Ed.D., Director/Professor/Poet, UNM-Taos

“Sawnie’s week long writing workshops demand a fearlessness and levity that brings out the best in my writing. Through highly supportive feedback rounds and stimulating prompts and exercises, she offers each writer the freedom to explore their psyche, their dreamscapes, and find new wisdom in the day-to-day journey of the writer’s life. Her workshops are an important refueling waypoint on my writing journey.”

– Ned Dougherty, High school history teacher, Poetry & Essays:, Twitter: @teachpoet

“Sawnie Morris is a wonderful teacher. Her workshop on form is spectacular. Given the multitude of poetry teachers out there, to stand out is quite the honor. Her workshops are always reminders that true listening offers a groundwork of both craft and appreciation. She offers a plethora of voices that immerses each workshop in that intangible borrowing and inspiration that poets offer to one another. I am deeply grateful for her seamless understanding and approach.”

– Veronica Golos, Author of Rootwork: The Lost Writings of John Brown, Mary Day Brown, Ghosts and Runaways (3: A Taos Press); Vocabulary of Silence (Red Hen Press), and Bell Buried Deep (Story Line Press); Co-Editor, Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art; Poetry Editor, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion

“As long as I know that I’m signed up twice or at least once a year for Sawnie’s Poem-a-Day workshop I know that I will be in my poetry mind-set again. That week we spend writing, workshopping and communing over words gives me the energy and inspiration for months afterwards!”

Robin Shawver, Finalist for Omnidawn 1st/2nd Poetry Book Award, Judge C.D. Wright, Author: Double Shot Straight

“A unique experience combined with an intelligent and gently guided intensity…”

Alan McCrae, Building Contractor Board of Directors, SOMOS

“I’ve taken Sawnie Morris’ Poem-A-Day workshop twice and each time it was inspiring and deeply valuable to my poetic spirit. The process of pulling a poem from your essence, on demand, is a delicate thing and is nurtured by kindness and empathy toward both the poet’s process and the content. Sawnie establishes a high standard for deep thoughtfulness in the group. As a result I felt respected and appreciated while still receiving skilled critique.”

Hannah Rappaport, Author of Love on the Brink of History, a memoir of spiritual initiation

“Studying with Sawnie was a wonderful learning experience! Her dedication, commitment, and teaching skills restored my confidence and carried me forward to a whole new level in my abilities as a writer..”

Lillian Silva, Head Chef,  SMU-Taos


Sawnie is brilliant with dreams.  She is deeply and profoundly aware of the inner realms, the nuance of language, and the echoing subtleties and symbolisms in the dream world.   She is awake to the turn of the phrase, the analogies, the puns that shed light on what a dream is trying to say. She treads gently and respectfully.  I think it is because Sawnie had delved so deeply into her own work, her writing, her poetry and her own inner awareness, that she is able to be such a fabulous facilitator of dream groups.  My participation in several of these groups has proven to be of great value to me and I cannot recommend them enough.

DeAnn Hall, M.A., LPCC

“I have been blessed to participate in at least 3 of Sawnie’s dream groups. Her workshops invite such a strong sense of appreciation and respect, honoring really, for the dream world and the dreamer. My dreams open up through the richness and variety of possibilities others offer, and through the warmth in the group that Sawnie’s leadership helps to create. The offerings of others in the group come as invitations, not as interpretations. “If this were my dream I would wonder about…..” If this were my dream I would follow this image…..” This way the dreamer is free to be influenced or not by others perspectives. Sometimes someone else’s dream speaks strongly to me and I am enlivened by following those threads on my own. I leave the groups knowing that accessing the wisdom of the dream world is also a collective endeavor.”

Gaia Mika, Phd. Clinical Psychologist