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Monday, February 18, 2013

Up Bear Creek / 14feb20613 / Taking a Winter Poetry Tour

In rural communities, we all wear lots of hats. One of my many, in addition to public servant (or politician, if you don’t particularly like my service), potato farmer and basketweaver, is as Poet Laureate of the Western Slope (a title that I will relinquish at the end of March when a new Laureate is named at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale). This last weekend I got to wear the poet beret a lot, with a Green Party nod to my role as rural elected official … Thanks to my lax attention to many things in the wake of Mary’s leaving, I double-booked a student lecture in Boulder last Thursday in the afternoon, together with a poetry reading later that night in Colorado Springs with Wendy Videlock of Grand Junction. Which meant the Wends and I had just enough time to make it to the venue, while negotiating rush hour traffic on I-25 – always dicey … 
Dr. Patricia Limerick

It all worked out. We got to Boulder’s Center of the American West in time to lecture in Dr. Patricia Limerick’s history class on New West/Old West settler conflicts (cell tower, gun control, uranium mill) … Then we rushed to the Springs, making it just in time for a well-attended, paid Visiting Writers gig at Colorado College’s Palmer Hall. The most gracious Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason invited Wendy and I, and he hosted us for a lovely after-the-show dinner at Jake and Telly’s Greek Taverna. The Numæan wine was superb, and the table talk exquisite … Friday morning we spoke at Dr. Genevieve Love’s Colorado College poetry class … 

David Mason at Karen Chamberlain Fest

Although not before we’d made an en route impulse stop at Montague’s Parlour on Tejon St. (easily one of the best coffeehouses in the state). A coffee break that stretched into deeply absorbed thoughts, and we were promptly late for class … Love had done amazing prep. The kids had read selections of our work and written up questions. It was great fun sharing our thoughts, the two of us, Wendy sitting in a chair, speaking softly like the Sibyl of Cumae, and old Paleohippie pacing and pontificated like a mad beatnik bard … Wends and I next repaired to Wooglin’s Deli for an outdoor madcap chat & chew with Dave and his new wife, the amazing Cally Conan-Davies – a wildly wonderful Aussie poet herself … They both will be appearing this Friday, Feb. 15th at 7 p.m. at the Cortez Public Library – a reading I’m planning on attending … And then the adventure took us to Salida, where Barbara Ford and Laurie James sponsored Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer , Danny Rosen, Wends and me as “Birds of a Feather” for a lovely performance that drew a good-sized crowd and lots of friends – a nod to the sorely missed Sparrows Poetry Festival of years past, a Salida institution now defunct … 

Wendy Videlock in action

Former Denver Poet Laureate Chris Ransick attended, along with Denver’s Kit Hedman, Crestone’s Peter Anderson, former Tellurider Doann Houghton of Nathrop and the usual Salida crew of Craig Nielson, Lawson Eddy, Lynda La Rocca, Felice and some impressive new voices (an open reading preceded the show, and three special guests came after) … By the time Wendy and I made it back to Montrose, and headed in opposite directions, I was driving into a blizzard, Dallas Divide blowing horizontal, the tarmac snow-packed and dangerous.


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