"Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history." — Plato
GUEST POETS at LitFest 2018
ESTHER BELIN (Featured Poet for 2018) "My expression is a liberation functioning as a contrived reality boxed into Indian." Esther is among the myriad of indigenous peoples on the planet to survive in urbanized areas, namely Los Angeles, where her parents were relocated from the Southwest by the government in the 1950s. She is a graduate from UC Berkeley, IAIA, and Antioch University. Her book, "From the Belly of My Beauty" won the American Book Award in 2000. Of her most recent book, "Of Cartography," Denver Post book reviewer Leslie Doran wrote: "Belin has pushed the envelope of convention with the format of some of the poems in this book. Using typographic and linguistic illustration, she gives new impact to her writing. Readers might have to adjust their expectations when interpreting her intentions or emotions while viewing these poems." Esther considers the following locations her homeland: LA, Durango, Diné bike'yah. Her writing and art grows from and is an offering to the collective humanity, bila' ashdla'ii. JOHN NIZALOWSKI John has been an instructor at Colorado Mesa University since 1990 and teaches creative writing, composition and mythology. Previously, he held teaching positions at Virginia Tech and for the College of Santa Fe program at the Penitentiary of New Mexico. He has published three books: a collection of essays entitled Land of Cinnamon Sun (Irie Books, 2013); a poetry collection called The Last Matinée (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2011) and Hooking the Sun (Farolito Press, 2003), a multi-genre work. His literary and scholarly works have appeared in numerous publications, including Puerto del Sol, Blue Mesa Review, Weber Studies, Bloomsbury Review, ISLE, Measure, Chiron Review and Under the Sun. His work has also appeared in a number of anthologies, including Reading Under the Sign of Nature (University of Utah Press), Artifacts and Illuminations: Critical Essays on Loren Eiseley (University of Nebraska Press), Critical Insights: Barbara Kingsolver (Salem Press) and The Blueline Anthology (Syracuse University Press). John has also written for various journalistic publications, most notably The Santa Fe New Mexican and Telluride Magazine.
DAVID J ROTHMAN David serves as the Director of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, along with also directing the Poetry Concentration. His most recent volumes of poetry, both of which appeared in 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press). A book of essays about mountains and mountain towns, Living the Life (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Appalachia, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and scores of other newspapers, journals and periodicals. He co-founded the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press, and currently serves as Resident Poet with Colorado Public Radio. He has served as Executive Director, President, and a Board Member of the Robinson Jeffers Association, and currently serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and of the West Chester University Poetry Center. He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado.
PETER ANDERSON Peter’s most recent books include Heading Home: Field Notes (Conundrum Press, 2017), a collection of flash prose and prose poems exploring rural life and the modern day eccentricities of the American West; Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015), an anthology of Grand Canyon poems edited with Rick Kempa, which was nominated for a Colorado Book Award; and First Church of the Higher Elevations (Conundrum Press, 2015), a collection of essays on wildness, mountain places, and the life of the spirit. Peter was the Bennett Fellow Writer-in- Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy for the 2015-16 school year. He taught writing at Adams State University for ten years and is currently gathering material for a literary road guide to Colorado. He lives with his family on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
ART GOODTIMES See below under Faculty Poets!
POETRY EVENTS at LitFest 2018
Friday • May 18 • 7:30pm • Ah Haa School for the Arts SPOTLIGHT POETRY Poetry opens the festival with readings by Diné poet ESTHER BELIN (the Featured Poet for 2018) and Colorado Mesa University poet John Nizalowski. An open mic will follow so bring yer words!
Friday • May 18 • 9:30pm • The Liberty LATE NIGHT with Poets Mosey on over to The Liberty (121 South Fir St) for some casual hangtime amongst poets from all over. There's a fireplace, some couches, delightful libations, and usually a microphone ...
Saturday • May 19 • 9:30am • Meet at High Alpine Coffee Bar (at Between the Covers Bookstore) POETS WALK up Bear Creek Join Faculty Poet ART GOODTIMES for a wander up one of Telluride's favorite trails. Please note this is a weather dependent event. If it's a-howlin' outside, plan to hunker down in the cozy cafe at Telluride's fiercely independent book shop. Not a bad Plan B.
Saturday • May 19 • 10:30am-12pm • Wilkinson Public Library (Periodicals Room) LECTURE by David Rothman: “Belle Turnbull and the Poets of Early Colorado” Belle Turnbull (1881-1970) was the first strong poet to live in and write about the mountains and high mining towns of the Colorado Rockies. Well-known during her life but long out of print, Turnbull’s lyrics of sublime alpine wilderness and her narratives about the harsh and dangerous world of hard-rock mining offer us a profoundly original vision of the American west that transcends the region. Join the current Western Slope Poet Laureate—and co-editor of Belle Turnbull: On the Life & Work of an American Master--as he almost singlehandedly resuscitates this once-forgotten literary legacy.
Saturday • May 19 • 2pm • Telluride Arts HQ (Across from the library) The Fischer Prize & The Cantor Prize The $1,000 Fischer Prize ceremony and readings by the winning poets. New this year, the $500 Cantor Prize for Best Colorado Poem received for the Fischer Prize, sponsored by Elaine Fischer's family. Esther Belin will join Art Goodtimes and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer in handing out the awards.
Sunday • May 20 • 10-11:30am • County Meeting Room (Miramonte Building, 2nd floor) WORKSHOP with Peter Anderson: “A Certain Slant of Light: The Poetry of the Postcard” Writing a postcard is an invitation to pay attention, to distill a scene into a few choice details, to convey a distinct moment of our being, and to acknowledge—wish you were here—the life of a friend. Its finite rectangular space encourages informality and spontaneity as well as precision and compression. In our time together, we will look at ways that other poets and writers have embraced the postcard as a literary form. And then we will accept the invitation ourselves, writing post/poem cards from home places, dreamscapes, and triggering towns somewhere out on the road.
Sunday • May 20 • 12pm • Ah Haa School for the Arts Gourds Circle One last sharing of poems and stories ... Bring a pillow, too!
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, one term as the Western Slope Poet Laureate, and 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. She performs with a poetry troupe EAR, sings with the 8-woman a cappella group Heartbeat, and for 17 years has lead 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 Naked For Tea (Able Muse, 2018), The Miracle Already Happening (Liquid Light Press, 2012), The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012), Holding Three Things at Once (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2008). Her favorite one-word mantra: Adjust.
Poets Kyle Harvey, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Eduardo Brummel, Danny Rosen ... and the man he's pointing at, the late North Beach legend Jack Mueller, hanging out and funnin' at the former Talking Gourds Clubhouse AKA Arroyo Wine Bar AKA Telluride's Living Room. Gourds
has found a new cozy home in the gallery space at Telluride Arts HQ.
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.
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