Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville was named the third Poet Laureate of the Western Slope during the Talking Gourds Poetry Performances Saturday, May 16, 2015, at the Ah Haa School of the Arts during the Second Telluride Literary Arts Festival (LitFest).
Emeritus Laureate Aaron Abeyta made the announcement after he read several of his own poems to great applause, the crowd calling for more. He spoke warmly of Rosemerry as one of the region’s best poets. Abeyta himself has won a Before Columbus Award, a Colorado Book Award, and is a highly respected English teacher at Adams State University in Alamosa, as well as mayor of his San Luis Valley hometown, Antonito.
“The Western Slope has such a rich, talented, diverse, generous poetry community,” said Trommer in accepting the title. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this landscape of poets. I’ve always felt so supported, and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”
Trommer served two terms as San Miguel County Poet Laureate. She’s maintained a poem-a-day practice for almost a decade, sharing her work with students and friends on the Internet. At this year’s LitFest she catalyzed a Poetry Burlesque performance with several other women; premiered a poem video short with a local filmmaker, Suzan Beraza; premiered a neo-classical vocal composition she’d written and Robert McCauley had set to music (performed by an amazing vocalist and musicians at Arroyo’s Wine Bar and Gallery); and led a writing workshop titled “Walking in Two Worlds at Once” at the Wilkinson Library.
“I love what happens when people read, write, listen to and share poems with each other — you can almost see the doors of the mind and heart swing open,” Trommer explained. “And I’m really excited about collaborative projects that combine poetry with art, music, dance, theater or video. I’ve already started to imagine projects I might coordinate to encourage more people to participate in their own poetic endeavors.”
LitFest is a collaboration among the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds program, the Wilkinson Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride Arts and Arroyo’s Telluride. Talking Gourds is indebted to grants from Audrey Marnoy and San Miguel County Poet Laureate Peter Waldor for seeding this year’s poetry program.