ELEVATED | Easing the Constricted Voice, Public Theatre, and a String Quartet

by Leslie Vreeland
Nov 01, 2012 | 929 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

“There was a time when I thought writing poems could help us arrive at answers,” Telluride poet Rosemerry Trommer observes on her blogsite, Wordwoman. “I don’t believe that anymore. Now, instead of longing for poems that ‘click closed,’ as Emily Dickinson would say, I am curious about poems that end by opening a door.” On Saturday, Nov. 10, Trommer, whose poetry has been featured in O Magazine and on A Prairie Home Companion, will offer a daylong course on something that ‘clicks closed’ even before our poems do: our minds. The class is designed to help aspiring poets write from what Trommer refers to as the unconstricted throat, a term of art she borrowed from another poet, Adrienne Rich. “I remember being completely enthralled with that idea of hers,” Trommer says. “We have a lot of walls built around our voices – a lot of ‘shoulds’ about the way we write. We should be good. Or interesting. Or smart. But a very interesting thing happens when we think we know what we should do: we put ourselves in a little cage.”

A lot of times we don’t know what those cages are, or that we’re even feeling caged, Trommer says. “But we know we’re not writing, say, or we seem to be writing the same thing over and over. What needs to open, and what does it take? We may not achieve true openness in this class. I’m not saying we will.” But the question is worth asking: “What are some of the ways we dress ourselves up before we even come to the page?”

Trommer’s latest, The Less I Hold (Turkey Buzzard Press), will be out the end of this month. The poet says, and its title implies, that she is wrestling with some of the same themes in her own work that she’ll take up in this class. “Don’t we all struggle with these issues? All the time?” she asks. “It’s not like we take them up, wrestle them to the ground, and then we’re done.” You get the feeling she’s talking about more than writing. This is from her new book.


I knew myself a swirl of ash

swept briskly by the wind—

like wings without the weight of birds,

like kites without their strings.

And I, who have been dead, tonight

I know myself the moon

with rings around it in the dark.

And I the darkness, too.

But I am also not the dark,

not moon, not ash, not kite,

not anything that can be held,

something beyond the night.

I know myself a spilling thing,

a raveling, a leak.

Call it blessing, call it luck

the vessel as it breaks.

Rosemerry Trommer’s poetry class will be held at Weehawken Ouray. For more information or to register, visit weehawkenarts.org.


It’s the season for voting, and Telluride Theatre would like yours. The organization that resulted when Telluride Repertory Theatre and Squidshow Theatre merged is celebrating its first year, and on Wednesday, November 7, it is hosting a get-together in celebration at the Steaming Bean. The purpose of the meeting is to welcome all who are interested – thespians, would-be thespians, potential volunteers – into the theatrical fold. “People are always telling me they’d like to get involved,” said Telluride Theatre’s artistic director Sasha Sullivan, who founded Squidshow and wrote, directed, and acted in many of its 14 productions. This is a chance to find out how. It is also a chance to bring the casts of various recent productions together under one big, highly caffeinated tent. The cast of the town musical, Spelling Bee, hasn’t had a chance to meet the actors from Measure for Measure, the most recent Shakespeare production in Town Park, Sullivan says. Finally, it is also a chance for Sullivan to announce Telluride Theatre’s 2013 schedule and dates. “We thought it would be great to find out what people are interested in seeing, and let them know how they can get involved,” Sullivan said. “I want all this in the back of my head before the start of our season.” At the meeting, Sullivan plans to announce the names of the Winter Play (“a super funny comedy”) and the Town Musical. About the musical: Sullivan says it is her “favorite of all time, and will really jazz the community.” Which is, after all, what theatre is all about. “What’s really cool is, this is a true community effort,” she notes. The hope is that the theatre can produce plays all year round, and, “It’s their passion that keeps us going.” The event begins at 6 p.m. To learn more about Telluride Theatre, visit telluridetheatre.org.


The Western Slope Concert Series, a classical-music company powered by the talented Mientka family out of Grand Junction, presents a string quartet concert this weekend in Montrose and Paonia. Cellist Zachary Reaves, violist Andrew Krimm, and violinists Andrew Giordano and Sercan Danis, aka the Altius String Quartet, will play musical pieces by Beethoven, Schumann and Samuel Barber. Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, one of the so-called “Rasumovsky Cycle” of quartets, named for the Russian diplomat living in Austria who commissioned the pieces from Beethoven, features very complex and intricate rhythmic changes. A quartet’s timing must be perfect to get it right; listen for the four instruments to sound as one. (According to the Austrian pianist Carl Czerny, a student of Beethoven’s, the second movement of the quartet reportedly came to the composer as he contemplated the starry sky and imagined the music of the spheres.) Altius will also perform the second movement from Samuel Barber’s Adagio, a “slow, heart and gut-wrenching” piece, as cellist Reaves puts it. The quartet will be accompanied by Kathryn Mientka on Schumann’s great Piano Quintet. Lylamae Chedsey, president of the Board of Directors for the Concert Series, says “There is no way to describe the response to these concerts and the need they fill. You’ve got the symphony and the college here [in Grand Junction], but this is a whole different league. The quality of musicians the Mientkas have brought in is world class.” Altius Quartet performs this Sunday at the Pavilion at 3 p.m. Tickets are $9 in advance, and $12 at the door. To purchase tickets online, visit junctionconcerts.com.

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