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WESTERN SLOPE & SAN MIGUEL COUNTY

POET LAUREATES

HONORING OUTSTANDING POETS & PERFORMERS

Western Slope Poet Laureate

A project of the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds program honoring an outstanding poet/performer who has helped promote the practice of poetry on the Western Slope of Colorado. 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.

2019-2022 WESTERN SLOPE POET LAUREATE:  L. Luis López

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY POET LAUREATE

The San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners created the position as a way to honor a member of the local community who has demonstrated significant literary achievement.  The Poet Laureate will provide leadership in the literary community, create opportunities to expand the literary community in the county, and educate the young in the community-building powers of the arts to provide vision as well as beauty and entertainment to the people of the county.

San Miguel County has posted its own page on the county website honoring the County Poet Laureates that have been named since 2006.

2022 SAN MIGUEL POET LAUREATE:  JOANNA SPINDLER

San Miguel County Poet Laureate

POET LAUREATE NEWS & EVENTS

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CommunityPoet LaureateTalking Gourds

JOANNA SPINDLER: POETRY ‘A BRIDGE TO COMMUNITY BUILDING’

January 19, 2022
FROM THE TELLURIDE DAILY PLANET: By Suzanne Cheavens, Associate Editor / Jan 18, 2022 The San Miguel Board of County Commissioners…
CommunityPoet LaureateTalking Gourds

A WESTERN SLOPE POEM FROM LUIS LÓPEZ

June 14, 2020
el rio dolores (1765) down the desert’s rugged canyon slope horses, men, mules hot burdened slipping, sliding, horrid descent towards…
Poet LaureateTalking Gourds

Events from Western Colorado Writers Forum

February 6, 2020
Western Colorado Writers Forum "Our mission is to foster a dynamic literary and writing community that advances the cultural life…
Poet LaureateTalking Gourds

Ellen Metrick to read in Telluride and Norwood @ Nov. 13 & 14, 2018

October 30, 2018
The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club is proud to host Wrights Mesa poet Ellen Metrick on Tuesday night, Nov. 13th, starting at 6…
Poet LaureateTalking Gourds

Dr. David J. Rothman Named 2017 Western Slope Poet Laureate

September 1, 2017
Crested Butte’s Dr. David J. Rothman Named Western Slope Poet Laureate. The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Program named David J.…
Poet LaureateTalking Gourds

Trommer Named Western Slope Poet Laureate 2015

May 11, 2015
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville was named the third Poet Laureate of the Western Slope during the Talking Gourds Poetry…

POET LAUREATE ARCHIVES

Western Slope Past Winners & History

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 Past Winners & History

Joanna Spindler (2022-2024)
Ms. Spindler has lived in San Miguel County for many years and is an adult programming specialist with the Wilkinson Library in Telluride. She has been a long-time collaborator with Talking Gourds and is now the lead partner on the Bardic Trails Zoom virtual poet series in this time of COVID. She is also an inspiring performer of her poetry and has appeared on stage many times in Telluride.

Daiva Chesonis (2019-2021)
Ms. Chesonis has lived in San Miguel County for many decades and is the former co-owner of Between the Covers Bookstore in Telluride. She has participated and collaborated with the Talking Gourds Poetry Club, Guest Gourds, and Traveling Gourds projects, as well as being a founding member and co-director of the Telluride Literary Arts Festival and Saturday Night at the Livery (SNL), a somewhat regular speakers series in Norwood.

Elissa Dickson (2016-2018)
Ms. Dickson is a very impressive poet/performer, and member of the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. She lives and works in San Miguel County, serving as Adult Programming Director at the Wilkinson Libary, and has been a valuable partner of the Poetry Club for several years. She assists the Poetry Club by creating local posters each month.

Peter Waldor (2014-2016)
Mr. Waldor is a member of the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. He spends a good part of the summer in San Miguel County every year and has done so for many years. He is a nationally recognized poet who has won numerous awards and has demonstrated his craft and his love for the San Juan Mountains.

Ellen Marie Metrick (2011-2013)
Ms. Metrick has demonstrated leadership in the literary community – having worked as editor of the Norwood Post and with youth in the Norwood schools. She has set up a poetry reading and gourd circles in Norwood, in conjunction with the Arts Community & Education (ACE) of Norwood. She provides literary excellence in her chapbook, and in the many poems she has published and performed for many years.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer (2006-2010)
Ms. Wahtola Trommer has served as head of the Telluride Writers Guild for several years. She has demonstrated literary excellence in many published books of poetry and in her many performances of poetry. She continues to be involved with both adults and children in promoting literary arts.

San Miguel County has posted its own page on the county website honoring the County Poet Laureates that have been named since 2006.