Middlebury faculty member and nature write John Elder was the first on-site director at the New Mexico campus.
The faculty included Deirdre David, Jacques Lezra, Ken Macrorie, N. Scott Momaday, Arnold Rampersad, John Richetti, and Susanne Wofford, and the curriculum, courses in creative and non-fiction writing; Shakespeare’s Histories and Tragedies; Pope and Swift; Imperialism and the Victorian Novel; Native American Literature; and Woolf, Faulkner, and Latin American Narrative.
That first summer saw sixty-six students enrolled at the Santa Fe campus, travelling from twenty-one states and one foreign country. Eleven students received their MA degrees at Santa Fe.
“Faculty and students alike,” John Elder remarks, “appreciated the natural beauty of the foothills rising around the campus. Our early Bread Loaf community in Santa Fe was a high-spirited and adventurous one.”
Bread Loaf grads Alfredo Lujan and Larry Abbott served on staff, leading hikes and excursions, introducing new foods, and taking students to local celebrations. As Elder notes, “people who arrived not knowing how to spell sopapillas soon couldn’t live without them.”
The New Mexico “Crumb”
In its initial incarnations, New Mexico’s school newspaper took its bearings from Vermont’s longstanding Crumb, adopting such titles as the “Migajita of a Crumb,” “Migauela of a Crumb,” and “Migajadillita of a Crumb.” In its inaugural summer, this intelligencer
- Directed students interested in Bread Loaf’s first-ever cultural walk/cantina crawl to meet at the Mañana Bar at the corners of Alameda and Don Gaspar
- Invited students to Pulitzer-Prize-winning faculty member N. Scott Momaday’s lecture on “Death in a Museum” in the Great Hall
- Announced that the “greatest salsa dance in the history of Bread Loaf/Santa Fe” would feature the Andean-Mexican tunes of the band Cuicuna
- Organized “Blue Parlor West” readings
- Promised a live Breadnet demonstration for those interested in corresponding electronically
- Offered Bread Loafers “the time of their lives at Casa Lujan” for “Mrs. Lujan’s A-One, Outta This World, Are You Kidding Me? This Is The Best I Ever Had Chile, Can I Have Some More Water? Ice Water, Toe-Curlin’, Foot-Stompin’ chile”
The Heart of Bread Loaf in New Mexico
At its heart, Bread Loaf—where ever it takes place—is about the people who come together to share their love of talking about, reading about, and teaching literature.