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Judyth Hill kicks off new Bardic Trails Tour on Western Slope.

Poetry’s upping the ante on Colorado’s Western Slope with a new three-day poetry tour at the beginning of each month. Starting Jan. 5-6-7, master poet/teacher Judyth Hill will appear consecutively for readings in Telluride, Montrose and Fruita as part of a new collaboration among the Telluride Institute and its partners, the Montrose Regional Library and Lithic Bookstore & Gallery.

“We’re hoping to increase cultural ties among Telluride, the Uncompahgre Valley and the Grand Valley with this new Bardic Trails Tour,” explained Talking Gourds co-director Art Goodtimes. “By sharing accomplished local and guest poet/performers among our communities, we strengthen the arts on the Western Slope and heighten the sense of cultural cohesion in our social fabric.”

On Jan. 5th, the Talking Gourds Poetry Club will host Hill and pop sensation Jewel – a part-time local resident — for a poetry performance at Arroyo’s Telluride starting at 6 p.m.

On Jan. 6th, the Montrose Regional Library’s Adult Programs will host Hill and a local poet at their Open Mic reading series starting at 6:30 p.m. at the library.

On Jan. 7th, the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery in Fruita will host Hill and a local poet at their new reading series starting at 7 p.m. at the bookstore.

Until moving to Conifer this last year, Judyth Hill lived on a farm just outside San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Educated at Sarah Lawrence College, she studied with poet Robert Bly and deep ecologist Dolores LaChapelle. The recipient of numerous grants, Judyth conducts poetry workshops at writing conferences internationally, is an annual Poet-in-Residence at U.S. schools, offers writing classes online at She also leads WildWriting Culinary Adventures round the world —

Her nine published books of poetry include Dazzling Wobble (2013) and the anthology Tzimzum (2013). Her newest book, Love Called Me Here, is forthcoming. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed poem, “Wage Peace,” that went viral after 9/11 and has been set to music and recorded by the Cincinnati Women’s Chorus.

Judyth has been described by the St. Helena Examiner as, “Energy with skin”, and by the Denver Post as, “A tigress with a pen”.

In Telluride, following Club announcements and the featured performances by Judyth and Jewel, there will be a short intermission, after which the gourd will be passed around the room to give Club members and attendees a chance to read a poem or two. The theme for January is “Friendship.” Bring your own work or that of a favored poet to share.

Supporters of the Talking Gourds Poetry Club are encouraged to join each year as members – entitling one to the broadside that is printed up with a poem from each featured poet, half-price fees for submissions to the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize and email notification of special events. Membership forms will be available at each reading. Or can be obtained by contacting Art Goodtimes.

Poetry Club members meet monthly, on first-Tuesday evenings, at Arroyo’s at 220 E. Colorado Ave. beginning at 6 p.m. (next door to Ace Hardware).

The Talking Gourds Poetry Club lineup for 2016 is still under construction. But we’re trying something new – pairing a poet guest from afar from a local poet we’d like to showcase, so we will have two guest performances each evening. With some confirmations still to be made, Jared Smith of Lafayette and Samantha Tisdel Wright of Ridgway will perform Feb. 2nd, a guest poet and Jean Bower of Montrose March 1st, a guest poet and Kyra Kopentonsky of Fall Creek April 1st (no fooling!), and Ed Ward of Denver and Daiva Chesonis of Telluride May 3rd.

We will have more information on the new Bardic Trails Tour schedule next month.

Submissions are now being solicited for the 19th Annual Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, another cultural program of the Telluride Institute. The contest is open to all U.S. poets west of the Mississippi and all Canadian poets from Alberta west. For more information, check out the website:

Also, Talking Gourds will be part of the annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 20-22. The Mark Fischer Poetry Prize will be awarded Friday, followed by an evening poetry reading; the celebrated Literary Burlesque will return Saturday night for a command performance, with a dance afterwards; and author Peter Heller will do a special Sunday night reading, as well as participate in a panel discussion on journalism.

Talking Gourds is a there-part program of the Telluride Institute in partnership with the Wilkinson Library, the Montrose Regional Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride Arts and Arroyo Telluride.

Talking Gourds poet(s) also appear at the Montrose Regional Library’s Open Mic series the Wednesday after First Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. For more info there, contact Meg Nagel at <> or 970-964-2548. And then they appear the Thursday after First Tuesdays at the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery at 138 South Park Square #202 in Fruita (Upstairs above Coloramo Credit Union and Hershberger Furniture. Enter through lobby door on the east side of the building, from Mesa Street). For more info, contact Kyle Harvey or Danny Rosen at (970) 858-3636

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous donations from Audrey Marnoy, Peter Waldor, Elaine Fischer, Sean Murphy, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Danny Rosen and the Montrose Friends of the Library. Call 970-729-0220 or visit the Gourds website for more info.

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