Friday • May 20 • 6pm • Arroyo Wine Bar Mark Fischer Poetry Prize After the official “opening of the book” on LitFest 2016, this annual prize will be awarded. Named in memory of Telluride’s much-loved poet, lawyer, skier and raconteur, Fischer was a daring experimenter who combined a polyglot’s command of languages with a quirky sense of humor and a passion for obtuse words. In that spirit, prizes are awarded to entries that best exhibit the qualities of originality, novelty, complex meaning, linguistic skill and wit. The wilder the better. The prize comes with a cash award of $1,000, with three finalist awards of $100 each. For 2016, 329 poems were submitted by 129 poets from all over the US! The final judge in 2016 will be Southwest poet extraordinaire Judyth Hill, whose poem “Wage Peace” received international recognition after 9/11. More info here.
Friday • May 20 • 8:30pm • Arroyo Wine Bar Gourds Spotlight Poetry Performance Following a post-awards dinner break, poetry ramps up again with performances by Peter Heller, Judyth Hill, and Sarah Pletts. Open mic will follow, get your words ready for sharing. Poet bios here.
Saturday • May 21 • 10 to 11:30am • Wilkinson Public Library Word Up! A tandem of moderated panels with authors and journalists Environmental Journalism: The State of the Art ... Featuring panelists Judy Muller (USC Annenberg professor of journalism, NPR contributor, and author of Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns), Amy Irvine (MFA Faculty Fellow at Southern New Hampshire University and winner of both the Orion Book Award and Colorado Book Award for Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land), Alec Jacobsen (Executive Director of the San Juan Independent and former Editor in Chief of ArtsRiot.com), and Heller. This panel will be moderated by writer Craig Childs (MFA Faculty Fellow at both University of Alaska Anchorage and Southern New Hampshire University and author of House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest and The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert).
Saturday • May 21 • 12:30 to 2pm • Wilkinson Public Library Word Up! A tandem of moderated panels with authors and journalists Guidebook Authoring: The Ethics and a How-to of an Ever-Expiring Genre ... Panelists will include Telluride Mountain Club Board President Tor Anderson (author/designer of several popular Telluride-area "guide maps") and Ted Floyd (editor of Birding, the flagship publication of the American Birding Association, and author of The Field Guide to Birds of Colorado and Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America), plus an unconfirmed third. This panel will be moderated by Chesonis (co-owner of Between the Covers Bookstore, former Art Director at Telluride Magazine and co-designer of Telluride Rocks 3rd Edition).
Saturday • May 21 • 11am to 1pm • Wilkinson Public Library Kids Book Bash at the Library This hands-on event will include traditional Japanese Book Binding; Black Out Poetry—writing a poem by blacking out the text in an old book and using the remaining words to convey a personal expression; and Guess the Book, a contest to see who can decipher the title of a shredded book in a jar for a prize.
Saturday • May 21 • 3pm • Between the Covers Bookstore Birding with ABA Pro Ted Floyd Thanks to The Nature Conservancy, Ted Floyd returns for a third year for this popular springtime tradition. Meet at BTC for a brief talk on the back deck and then off you go for some guided birding. All levels welcome. Bring water and comfortable walking shoes. The professional birder says, "we'll be birding at the peak of spring migration, so we expect to see a kaleidoscope of colorful birds: tanagers, grosbeaks, warblers, finches, flycatchers, and more. And this is the best of time for a rarity." Ted is the editor of Birding, the flagship publication of the American Birding Association, and author of The ABA Field Guide to Birds of Colorado and Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Both are available for purchase at BTC and Ted will gladly autograph your copies. This year, birding at LitFest is especially relevant considering the ornithological references that will surface during Literary Burlesque ...
Saturday • May 21 • Doors at 7pm / Cash Bar / Show at 8pm • Ah Haa School • Daniel Tucker Gallery • $15 Literary Burlesque & The Rapture Dance Party Featuring a troupe of regional female poets and writers who will drop layers, both literal and literary, this year’s theme, “Oh Sister, Where Art Thou?” plays off the Cohen Brothers’ famous film by a similar name—both of which derive substance from Homer’s Odyssey. Think of white tent revivals, jailbirds freed, and siren songs. On the latter subject, however, the original trio of “Burl Gurrls”—Amy Irvine, Kierstin Bridger, and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer—warn us not to expect being lulled to sleep. Rather, one can expect a wake-up call, an invitation, to step into ourselves, the intimacy with others, more viscerally. “This will be our tightest show yet, in terms of both structure and thematic material,” says founding Literary Burlesque director Irvine. “It will also be our most revealing—in terms of having built the muscles needed to dig more deeply, to dare more vulnerability with one another, as well as with the audience.” Joining the founders will be Erika Moss Gordon, Samantha Tisdel Wright, and Corinne Platt. Craig Childs will step in as emcee-turned-southern preacher. Immediately following Literary Burlesque will be The Rapture, a dance party with cash bar, featuring KOTO DJ radio addiction spinning tunes. This could get primal, bring your inner beat beast! TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT!!! To get on the WAITING LIST, call the Ah Haa School for the Arts at 970-728-3886 ASAP OR run over. The Rapture Dance Party will be open to the public around 10pm, saunter over with $5 in your pocket and join the energy! See you soon, you devilish friends.
Sunday • May 22 • 11am • Wilkinson Public Library Featured Author Brunch with Peter Heller Peter will read from his myriad books and regale the crowd with stories from behind the scenes of his many adventures from around the world. (Think small aircraft and big bears.) To gear up for the Heller’s visit, the library has designated his novel The Dog Stars as their 2016 Spring Read. They have ordered a nice stack of the books for checking out and the bookstore has them in stock as well. Whether you borrow or buy, get your hands on a copy of what The New Yorker called “a brilliant success,” and chosen as best Book of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Monthly. Descriptions of Peter's books and as well as his complete bio are on the Authors page.
Sunday • May 22 • 2pm • Wilkinson Public Library Closing Gourds Circle & the "Closing of the Book" on Litfest 2016 Immediately following Heller’s presentation, all in attendance are invited to "pass the gourd" and share their poetry and musings. Of the gourds circle, Director Art Goodtimes says, “it’s a ritual thing, really, and a chance to listen to others. And it's a great way to welcome the summer season of festivals and community gatherings … with words."
Thanks for attending one or all of these events, and thanks to those who write for our enjoyment and escape. In the words of the late Oliver Sacks, it is “the special intercourse of writers and readers” that LitFest is all about. Until then, get caught reading! See you in 2017.