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Talking Gourds @ LitFest 2016
A fine evening of awards, performances, and an open-mic at Arroyo Wine Bar, dubbed "Telluride's Living Room."
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.
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 Judyth Hill, Peter Heller, and Sarah Pletts. Open mic will follow, get your words ready for sharing ...
JUDYTH HILL Judyth Hill, poet, teacher, author, lives in verdant beauty, on her ranchito just outside San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in the Picacho Mountain-ringed mountain valley on the road to Jalpa. Educated at Sarah Lawrence College; she studied with poet Robert Bly, and Deep-Ecologist Dolores LaChapelle, and is one of the original members of the Talking Gourds community. She has authored 9 poetry collections, including Hardwired for Love (Pennywhistle Press, 1990); Men Need Space (Sherman-Asher, 2000); Black Hollyhock, First Light (La Alameda Press, 2001); Dazzling Wobble (Future Cycle, 2013). Her poem Wage Peace received international recognition after 9/11. She leads WildWriting classes in San Miguel and the US and WildWriting Culinary adventures ‘round the world.
PETER HELLER Peter is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award winning adventure writer and the author of four books of literary nonfiction plus the novels The Dog Stars and The Painter. He lives in Denver. Heller was born and raised in New York. He attended high school in Vermont and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he became an outdoorsman and whitewater kayaker. He traveled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, he won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem The Psalms of Malvine. He has worked as a dishwasher, construction worker, logger, offshore fisherman, kayak instructor, river guide, and world class pizza deliverer.
SARAH PLETTS Sarah has written and performed her original dance-theatre works in North and Central America and Europe for forty years—from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland) to the 2002 Olympics (Salt Lake City, Utah) to the World Peace Prayer at the United Nations to the French National Theatre in Nice. She has collaborated with Jane Comfort, Peter Gabriel, Alan Ginsberg, Kenny Loggins, David Parsons, and Hunter S. Thompson. Her first film The Phoenix Rises screened in Assisi and Rome, Italy; Portland, Maine; Capetown, South Africa; Monaco, and Aspen, Colorado. It was one of 41 dance films chosen worldwide by IMZ in Vienna. For five years, she wrote and hosted her own talk show on KAJX public radio in Aspen, and her comedy group The Hysteria Manufacturing Company opened at the Isis Theatre during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2001. She wrote RELATED STRANGERS, a feature film and memoir with her WWII Navy pilot father. In 1995, Sarah authored a book of poems, Speak Now & Forever Hold Your Peace. She has finished the first draft of her books, Sea Beauty and Dancing Downstream: Journey of the Artist & Activist Sarah A. Pletts. Her play HENRI’S LETTERS opens at the Stella Adler Black Box Theatre in New York City on July 22, 2016. Ms. Pletts holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and has directed the Living Arts Foundation in Aspen since 1983.
DAVID ROTHMAN Director of Colorado Western State University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Dr. David J. Rothman also directs the annual Writing the Rockies conference as well as the recent inaugural Headwaters Poetry Festival. He is editor of Western’s national journal of poetry and criticism, THINK. Poet-in-residence for Colorado Public Radio and founder and first editor/publisher of Conundrum Press, David is southwestern representative for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared in journals around the country. His most recent books are The Book of Catapults, Part of the Darkness, and Living the Life: Tales from America’s Mountains and Ski Towns (Conundrum Press, 2013). David was a runner-up for the Colorado Poet Laureate title in 2014.
ART GOODTIMES of Norwood CO Poet, weekly newspaper columnist and Rainbow Family elder, Art grows 25+ varieties of heirloom potatoes, weaves non-traditional coil baskets, and is serving his 5th term as Colorado’s only Green Party county commissioner. Poet-in-residence of the Telluride Mushroom Festival since 1981, founder and director of various Talking Gourds poetry events since 1989, poetry editor for the national mycological magazine Fungi, and co-editor of online poetry zine Sage Green Journal, Art served as the first Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope (2011-13). His most recent book is Looking South to Lone Cone: the Cloud Acre Poems (Western Eye Press, 2013).
ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA TROMMER of Placerville CO Having served two terms as San Miguel County’s first Poet Laureate and worked ten years as director of the Telluride Writers Guild, Rosemerry leads writing workshops for hospice, recovery programs, women’s groups, teachers, schools, writers groups and people who think they hate poetry, performs with a poetry troupe EAR, sings with an 8-woman a cappella group Heartbeat, and leads (for 15 years) a poetry discussion series. Her work has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, in O Magazine, on back alley fences, in her children’s lunchboxes, and on rocks she leaves around town. She won the ACC Writer’s Studio Poetry Contest in 2011 and 2013. Author and editor of thirteen books, her latest include Holding Three Things at Once (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2008) The Miracle Already Happening (Liquid Light Press, 2012), The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012). Favorite one-word mantra: Adjust.
Poets Kyle Harvey, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Eduardo Brummel, Danny Rosen ... and the man he's pointing at, Jack Mueller, hanging out and funnin' at the Talking Gourds Clubhouse AKA Arroyo Wine Bar AKA Telluride's Living Room.
The Talking Gourds Story
In 1989, the Telluride Institute sponsored the first Talking Gourds event in Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House which featured Jerome Rothenberg, Anne Waldman, Anselm Hollo, Joan Logghe, Judyth Hill and a raft of regional poets. Under the tutelage of skier, writer and deep ecologist Dolores LaChapelle, the event moved through the ‘90s from in town to Faraway Ranch on Wilson Mesa and eventually to the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Sparrows Poetry Festival in Salida took over in 2000 as the focus for poetry in the mountains. For several years the Festival of Imagination flourished in Del Norte. Most recently, the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival brought poets from the Western Slope to Carbondale. But with that event’s folding last year, Telluride has reclaimed its poetry roots and is hosting a regional Western Slope poetry gathering once again. Plus, a new Headwaters Poetry Festival began this year at the Gunnison Arts Center in April, speaking to the renaissance of poetic energy in Southwestern Colorado.