Inspired by Silverton climber, skier, author and deep ecologist, the late Dolores LaChapelle, Talking Gourds has become a poetry program sponsored by the Telluride Institute since 2012. Art Goodtimes of Wrights Mesa and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville are the co-directors. Poetry events are posted on the Telluride Institute’s google calendar (subscribe to see the events on your own calendar).
Due to Covid-19 and co-director Art Goodtimes’ recent cancer, many of our programs have been paused.
We are not meeting at Telluride Arts for our monthly Poetry Club.
The youth Ettore Rella poetry awards are taking a break this year.
We have cancelled our Guest Gourd appearances (although we continue to hope to partner in the future with Ah Haa School for the Arts to bring Andrew Schelling of Boulder to town for a Sanskrit poetry workshop).
Goodtimes was awarded the Karen Chamberlain Award this year at the Mountain Words Literary Festival in Crested Butte.
August’s MycoLicious MycoLuscious MycoLogical Poetry Show was virtual, as was most of the 40th Annual Telluride Mushroom Festival. John Michelotti of Catskill Fungi and I co-produced the show, with the help of Shroomfest videographer Sarah Schwab and co-director Ashley Smith. It’s available free for viewing here: MMM POETRY SHOW
Poet and Colorado Mesa University professor emeritus Luis Lopez of Grand Junction continues as our Western Slope Poet Laureate another year.
As does our San Miguel County Poet Laureate Norwood poet and Telluride independent bookseller Daiva Chesonis.
We had over 250 poets and 500+ poems submitted for the Fischer/Cantor prizes this year. The winners and their poems appear on the Fischer Prize page. Also there, Judge Claire Blotter of San Rafael (CA) has an analysis of why she chose Jonathan Greenhause’s poem as this year’s Fischer Prize winner.
Talking Gourds continues to sponsor multiple poetry projects throughout the year and also collaborates with various organizations. Learn more about our history and legacy below:
Inspired by the late mountain climber, skier, and deep ecologist Dolores LaChapelle, her book, Sacred Land Sacred Sex Rapture of the Deep (Finn Hill Arts, 1989), spoke of bardic poetry as one of seven pathways to reconnect us to the earth. She called her walk of many paths the Way of the Mountain.
Talking Gourds began as a poetry festival in 1989 with Ethnopoetics as it focus and as special guests: Jerome Rothenberg, Anselm Hollo, Ann Waldman, Pierre Joris, Judyth Hill, Joan Logghe, and many others.
It changed shape several times as an annual gathering of wild poets, moving from Telluride to Faraway Ranch to Wrights Mesa to Windy Point on the Uncompahgre Plateau. Additionally, for almost 20 years Dolores and Art Goodtimes, together with the poet Judyth Hill and sculptor John Townley of New Mexico, held numerous other gatherings in Colorado and New Mexico to put bardic poetry into practice.
In 2013 the project came under the aegis of the Telluride Institute as the Talking Gourds poetry program.
Art Goodtimes of Wrights Mesa and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville are co-directors of the Talking Gourds poetry program, and Galaxy Dancer is our administrative assistant.
Our current partners in lyric high crimes & misdemeanors include Daiva Chesonis of Between-the-Covers Bookstore; Elissa Dickson, Laura Colbert and Sarah Landeryou of the Wilkinson Public Library; Molly Daniel, Brooke Einbender, and Kate Jones at Telluride Arts; Jess Newens, Kristin Kwasniewski and Judy Kohin at the Ah-Ha School for the Arts; Kris Holstrom, Hilary Cooper, and Lance Waring at San Miguel County; and Mary Hearding, Jacqui McCormick, Pamela Sante and Andy & Emily Shoff at the Telluride Mountain School.
We are indebted to the Cantor Family, Wu Xing, current and former Telluride Institute board trustees, the Bardwell Donachy Family and our Club members for their generosity.
We also honor previous collaborations with the Arroyo Gallery & Wine Bar in Telluride, Cimarron Books in Ridgway, La Zona Coffee in Colona, Wisehart Springs Inn in Paonia, Lithic Books in Fruita and the Montrose Regional Library.
The Talking Gourds program includes a number of projects where it acts as lead agency or as collaborative partner:
The monthly Telluride Poetry Club readings with featured guest poets from around the region
The annual national Fischer Prize for poetry with its Cantor Award for Colorado
The annual Mushroom Fest’s MycoLuscious MycoLicious MycoLogical Poetry Show & Open Myc
The annual Rella Awards for local student poetry
The annual Chamberlain Award for Lifetime Poetry Achievement in Colorado (awarded at the Gunnison Valley Literary Festival)
The biannual Western Slope Poet Laureate selection
The biannual San Miguel County Poetry Laureate recommendation
The occasional pop-up Guest Gourds performances for Club members
Our Poster Archive offers select Talking Gourds posters for sale
The former Literary Arts Festival, an annual gathering in Telluride to celebrate reading and writing
And other poetry Initiatives & Collaborations