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Join us for the “Art After Hours” event on May 20th where Grand Junction hosts the new Western Slope Poet Laureate: Wendy Videlock!

Poetry is a niche art. Not a lot of folks practice it, nor are there many who pay much attention. But a consistent few do, as good poetry is mostly good storytelling, shaped by thousands of years of Western lyric traditions.

For a dozen years the Western Slope has had its own Poet Laureate, an honorary title started in Carbondale at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. This year the Western Slope Poet Laureate baton is changing hands as it does every two years.

The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program will be naming Wendy Videlock of Palisade as the sixth Western Slope Poet Laureate during the Grand Valley Creative Alliance’s “Art After Hours – With A Twist” event at the Art Center of Western Colorado Saturday May 20th at 6 p.m.

The Telluride Institute will also be honoring Dr. L. Luis López of Grand Junction, the outgoing Western Slope Poet Laureate.

A professor emeritus at Colorado Mesa University, Dr. López taught English, Latin, Ancient Greek and Mythology, as well as serving as Director of the Academic Honors Program. He was awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships — one to study lyric poetry with Dr. Helen Vendler at Harvard University and a second one to study the literature of innocent suffering with Dr. Terrence Tilley at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

Dr. López has published five books of poetry, including Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy, A Painting of Sand, and Each Month I Sing (2008), which won the American Book Award and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association annual Best Poetry award.

A widely published Colorado poet, Videlock’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Poetry, Oprah Magazine, Hudson Review, the anthology Best American Poetry and Ted Kooser’s syndicated poetry column American Life in Poetry. She performs her work around the region, hosts many regional poetry events and publishes a Trickster Ridge newsletter of poetry events and announcements.

A visual artist, whose paintings are featured in a number of galleries, Videlock has published four books of poetry with the Able Muse Press of California: Nevertheless (2010), The Dark Gnu and Other Poems (2011), Slingshots and Love Plums (2015) and Wise to the West (2022). She also published a chapbook, What’s That Supposed to Mean, with EXOT Press of New York (2010). And Lithic Press of Fruita has just brought out her latest, a collection of poetry & prose as a mixture of lyric, critical essay, review and memoir, The Poetic Imaginarium: A Worthy Difficulty.

Past Western Slope Poet Laureates include Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville, David Rothman of Crested Butte, Art Goodtimes of Norwood and Aaron Abeyta of Antonito.

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