GRAND JUNCTION – I have been a predator. I have spoken to the fire at night. – Ryan His is one of many voices nurtured in a soup kitchen or youth correctional institute by the Western Colorado Writers’ Forum, a literary group dedicated to advancing cultural life on the Western Slope. For three days beginning Friday, Oct. 7, the Forum will add many more voices to this cultural mix, at its first annual Western Colorado Writers’ Conference in Grand Junction.
Entitled “The Language of this Land,” the conference will bring together 11 respected writers and poets for workshops and readings on topics ranging from the metaphysical (i.e.,Totem Poems and the Subconscious Muse,) to the scrupulously practical (tips for pitching query letters to agents).
There will be a special emphasis on native voices: at a free community breakfast Sunday morning, guest writers and Ute, Basque, Hispanic, Greek, African-American, Anglo and other speakers will read or tell stories that reflect on their origins. Leslie Marmon Silko, author of The Turquoise Ledge and one of the original recipients of the MacArthur “Genius Grant” award, will be a featured speaker, and Colorado’s Poet Laureate David Mason, an advisory editor of The Hudson Review, whose work has appeared in the Yale Review, the New Criterion and the New Yorker, will lead a workshop on writing poetry. Along with a naturalist, Mason will also conduct a walk through the Colorado National Monument, which should still be warm and dry this time of year, to study the region’s flora, fauna and geography for “The Land as Literal and as Metaphor.”
Other featured speakers will include author Will Hobbs, the author of 18 novels for middle school and young adult readers, and L. Luiz Lopez, a professor of mythology, Latin and ancient Greek and the author of Each Month I Sing (winner of the 2008 Colorado Independent Publishers First Place Award for Poetry) who will teach a seminar on Rhythm in Sports Poetry. Inspiration, and language, for everyone. For more info. or to register, go to westerncoloradowriters.org.