UP BEAR CREEK | Death Stalked Poets Last Month
by Art Goodtimes
Oct 03, 2013 | 2276 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MICHAEL ADAMS … My good friend and master poet Mike passed Friday after a year’s struggle with cancer. Dolores LaChapelle had bound us together – both of us devotees of her brand of deep ecology and bardic poetry… He was one of the Fire Giggler clan – a group of poets I’d met years ago who admired the metrics of Lew Welch, a legendary San Francisco poet pal of Gary Snyder and Phil Whalen who’d brought American cadence and Pacific Rim savvy to his verse. I’d gotten to hear Welch read once, and it was electrifying. His was a performance where the sea crashed, the sky boomed and giant redwoods swayed in the breeze. Nobody understood the percussive sing-song boomalay of American English better than Welch … Mike came from that tradition. Of Czech ancestry, his fine-tuned ear ran from the molten steel beds of his native Pittsburgh to the “black rock, sky pilot and Parry’s Primrose” of Broken Hand Peak … He joined many a Talking Gourds poetry gathering in San Miguel County at Windy Point and Faraway Ranch and down in New Mexico at Rockmirth. And he held his own annual corroboree at his hideaway in the Wet Mountains … We hiked together – most recently last year on the Woods Lake Trail to the Dolores Peaks – but in the West Fork Cimarrons with LaChapelle and up to Courthouse Rock ... We read together – most recently at a Gourds Circle in Norwood and before that in Boulder’s Innisfree Bookstore as part of a group of “outlaw poets” … He published an anthology about 9/11 that featured poems from a lot of us, including one by Judyth Hill that went viral and was reprinted all around the world. He’d come visit Cloud Acre and stay for a week; I’d go visit him and his wife Claire in their Lafayette digs, and before that in a trailer park outside Boulder, when he lived alone and worked for the City’s Parks & Rec Dept … So many stories. So many memories. Hard to let go of this good man.


KOFI AWOONOR … The world was held hostage last weekend in Nairobi as al Shabaam gunmen killed, tortured and destroyed, all in the name of Allah (as twisted an ethic as can be imagined). Among the collateral damage – revered Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor … One of the pioneers of African literature who used literature as a tool of emancipation, of independence and of African unity, he was known worldwide for his innovative style that translated the rhythms of his Ewe language into English. Having studied at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he taught at universities in Ghana and the United States, and also had served as Ghana's ambassador to Brazil, Cuba and the United Nations. His works are taught in high school English literature classes across the African continent … According to Malian writer Manthia Diawara who teaches at New York University and heads up the Institute of Afro-American affairs, Awoonor sought to create a new form of African poetry that mirrored the style of the African griots, or traditional storytellers. "He used both the rhythmic form, and sometimes used the same words as in the local language. He took sayings, funeral dirges or wedding celebrations, and put them into English, in a well-worked manner.” … His latest book, Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems," is due out next year.


BILL NEVINS … New Mexican poet and personal friend, Bill Nevins, was just up in Telluride for Blues & Brews. But shortly after he returned to Albuquerque, he learned that his son, Liam Nevins, 32, had been killed in Afghanistan … Liam, who was stationed with an elite unit of the Colorado National Guard, had been shot and injured just a few weeks ago, but had recovered and been awarded a Purple Heart. He was scheduled to return home this month ... Last week, Liam and two other U.S. soldiers were shot and killed on an army base by an Afghan soldier acting as a double agent ... Bill has been an anti-war activist his entire adult life. He had mixed feelings about the course his son chose, but he supported him and was proud of his high level of accomplishment in the service … Our hearts go out to Bill and his family.


HEADWATERS 24 … Students from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison jumped to their feet in Taylor Hall to give Walter Echo-Hawk a standing ovation after his keynote speech two weekends ago. He had most eloquently called for a new ethic – an environmental way forward, in collaboration with Native Americans … “Our nation has not been able to develop a sound land ethic. That cannot be achieved until Native American values, traditional knowledge, and spiritual ties to the land recognized, respected and incorporated into the way America looks at the land” … Echo-Hawk’s new book, In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America (Fulcrum Publ., 2013) asks that America restructure its relationship with its indigenous tribal nations based on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples … More on this to come.


MEREDITH NEMIROV … A great chance to see more of this amazing artist’s work this week … Tonight’s Artwalk (5-8 p.m.) will include her on-site paintings of Lone Cone at the Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery, 333 West Colorado Avenue, as well as a showing of the series of woodblock prints titled Twelve Views of Lone Cone at the Stronghouse Studios, 283 South Fir Street. The latter project was funded in part by an Artist Fellowship grant from Telluride Arts. She has been working on the series for the last 18 months, seven of them in Spain … Finally, Sunday, Oct. 6, she will host an opening display of a series of woodblock prints at The Livery in Norwood sponsored by ACE, from 4-6:30 p.m.






- for Crazy Cloud


that we shared this Bardo

Traded rants & reveries

around a Dolores campfire

in the Chinese Mtns


Heard each other's roar

at Windy Point

& the heartsongs of

gourditas y gourditos


Made the trek up

your Wet Mtn. hill

to whisper just

a breath above the wind


You talked steel

Went deep underground

Lived as bard

fire giggler


the wobbly hobo monk

avatar of Broken Hand Peak

Blessed memories

Blessed be to know thee


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