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WESTERN SLOPE & SAN MIGUEL COUNTY

POET LAUREATES

HONORING OUTSTANDING POETS & PERFORMERS

 

Wester Slope Poet Laureate

The naming of a Western Slope Poet Laureate is a project of the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds program. It honors an outstanding poet/performer who has helped promote the practice of poetry on the Western Slope of Colorado and around the state. The TG program selects poets who have published in the region and performed widely and to acclaim. Its purpose is to support the Laureate in continuing the work of poetry in and of the Western Slope, teaching, reading, writing and building literary community across the region.

Started at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale, the naming of a Western Slope Poet Laureate moved to Telluride Literary Arts Festival in 2014. Art Goodtimes of Norwood (2011-13) served as the first Laureate, Aaron Abeyta of Antonito (2013-15) the second, and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville (2015-2017) the third.

The tradition has continued with David J. Rothman of Crested Butte (2017-2019) and the current laureate L. Luis López of Grand Junction (2019-present). Because of Covid, a decision was made to continue the position with the current laureate until 2022.

San Miguel County Poet Laureate

Here is a Western Slope poem from Luis:

el rio dolores
(1765)

down the desert’s rugged canyon
slope horses, men, mules
hot
burdened
slipping, sliding, horrid descent
towards
the river’s rush

reach it
too deep
too swift

troubles
sorrows
along it banks

mud
sucking
no foot

for beast for
men

seeking silver ore
oro de plata
to satisfy the governor de santa fe

themselves

seeking legends strange
bearded people
somewhere beyond este rio

loss of horses, men, mules, so many
sorrows
prompting the leader, man
with many names

juan antonio maria de rivera
to call upon
the virgin mary for help
ayuda nos
nuestra seῆora de los dolores

horses, men, and mules
saved
so el nombre del rio
our lady of sorrows—-dolores

March 2021
L. Luis Lopez

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