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Get ready. The dynamite husband & wife duo from Nucla – Ruth Duffy and Mike Olschewsky – are coming to town.

“These two poets are among my favorite local performers,” noted Art Goodtimes, co-director of the Talking Gourds poetry program. “They will make you laugh, make you cry, turn your world on its ear. Not to be missed.”

The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club hosts them once in Norwood on Monday night, Dec. 17th, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Meadowlark House in the Norwood Gardens subdivision northwest of town (72 Greager Lane).

They perform again on Tuesday, Dec. 18th, starting at 6 p.m. at the Telluride Arts HQ gallery (across from the Wilkinson Public Library).

Ruth Ann Duffy was born in the north country, raised in Beer City and attended the University of Wisconsin there, earning a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. Hitchhiking west, she landed in Nucla, Colorado, fell in love, married, moved to the Navajo Reservation and learned to be a teacher.

She has published rarely and sporadically, but continues writing small poems and strange short stories that she stashes in the bottom drawer of her Goodwill desk.

Mike Olschewsky left Cleveland in 1975, wound up in Nucla. In Cleveland – you’ve got to be tough. Nucla too.

He has a MS in Physics. He taught math and science for 11 years in Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. Later, he taught for 20 years in Nucla/Norwood on the White Person’s Reservation.

Theme for this month’s passing of the gourd after the featured reading is Teachers.

The Poetry Club schedule runs like this: initial announcements are followed by the featured performance. Then, after a short break, the gourd is passed for an open reading and everyone has a chance to read a poem (their own, or one from a favorite poet).


Next up in our Talking Gourds Poetry Club series the Open Bard Poets of Ridgway will read Jan. 22nd in Telluride only (theme: Ars Poetica — poems about the art of writing poems). Talks are underway to see if student poets want to appear in February.

Submissions for the $1000 Fischer Prize (national) and $500 Cantor Award (Colorado) are now being accepted at our website. Poetry club members get a half-price discount on submission fees for those prizes.


Talking Gourds programming survives through the generous support of private donors and Club members.

There is a one-time fee of $25 to join the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. That makes you a full member for a year and gets you on our cyber mailchimp list for readings, festivals and contests. And it means that you are one of those generous supporters who believes in the importance of the arts on the Western Slope.

A $10 annual renewal fee keeps you up to date as a full member, renews your subscription to our private email newsletter, and gives you half-price for Fischer Prize submissions and free Poetry Club broadsides. Go to Telluride Institute for Talking Gourds page and donation buttons.

Talking Gourds Poetry Club, Gourd Guests, the Telluride Literary Arts Festival, the Western Slope Poet Laureate and the MycoLicious MycoLuscious MycoLogical Poetry Show are collaborative projects of the Telluride Institute — in partnership with the Wilkinson Public Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, Telluride Arts, the Telluride Mushroom Festival, and our club members.

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous contributions past and present from Audrey Marnoy, Peter Waldor, the Cantor Family of North Carolina, the late Elaine Cantor Fischer and her many friends, Eduardo Brummel, Daiva Chesonis, Elissa Dickson, Laura Colbert, Jess Newens, Judy Kohin, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Danny Rosen, Kyle Harvey, Craig Jackman, Kate Jones, Pepper Raper, Molly Daniel, Alexander Ging, Amy Brosch, Elodie Jacobson, Tara Miller, Sam Brown, Art Wiseheart, Elle Metrick, Paige Blankenbuehler, Brian Calvert, Meg Nagel, Kyra Kopestonsky, Lee & Billi Taylor, Allyson Snyder, Amy Levek, David Oyster, Michael Olschewsky & Ruth Duffy, and our many friends.

Call 970-729-0220 (voice or text, but no voicemail please) or visit the Gourds website for more info.

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