Open Bard in Ridgway, Talking Gourds in Telluride
The latest installation of the Open Bard Poetry Series takes place in Ridgway next Thursday evening. For some, undoubtedly, the most powerful part of the evening – now matter how accomplished the Poet, and the Bard’s guests have all been extremely well respected writers – happens after the Guest Poet is finished, and there is an intermission. And then…members of the audience are invited to stand up and read their poems. For isn’t there something thrilling about sharing what you’ve written – what moves you – with an audience? Isn’t everyone a poet? Next week, the Guest Poet will be Poets, plural, and they will all be children. You can imagine their excitement. A teacher from Montrose is bringing a group of student’s he’s coached. Plus, “We’ve had several teachers from Ridgway and Ouray come with kids on Open Bard nights,” said Kierstin Bridger, one of Open Bard’s founders, and “They’ve responded to our invitations.” Ellen Metrick, a poet and teacher from Norwood, may send a group of young poets to read. Bridger has invited a middle school girl from Telluride she met while last summer while teaching a poetry lesson for the Girl Scouts. “She responded with talent and energy” when asked to write a poem, Bridger said. “She had the spark!”
Bridger hopes to stoke that into a flame. “We’ve always wanted to ignite a passion for poetry in our youth,” she said. “I do know the school curriculum doesn’t really make much room for poetry because of [the demands of] other required reading and writing,” said poet Beth Paulson, who co-directs Open Bard, “but some teachers do encourage creativity, and some students respond to the opportunity for self-expression.” They are the ones who will show up next week, and there could easily be many more like them. “I think if we can create a format for kids to be encouraged and inspired we can launch a whole generation of poets and poetry enthusiasts,” Bridger said, “people who think, pay attention, and who see patterns and connections in our world.”
Open Bard begins Thursday, Feb. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sherbino Theater. Participating groups are asked to arrive at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, just over the hill in Telluride, the Talking Gourds Poetry Club also convenes next week. Three poets from the North Fork Valley – Tara Miller, Jane McGarry and Sarah Gilman – are the guests. Gilman, an associate editor at High County News, will read a poem she wrote about a trip she took to the Harding Ice Field last summer with writer Craig Childs, where she was surrounded by crevasses and bergschrund and felt “the scariness of crossing a surface where you don’t know what’s beneath.” “You feel very small thinking of these things,” she said. Gilman was a biology and studio art major in college, and those interests continue to resonate in her work: “I’m particularly interested in natural cycles and how they play out.”
As at Open Bard, after the main presentations, members of the audience will be invited to share a poem on a theme. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, the theme is sex. Who knows? Maybe the Guest Poets will get in the spirit.
What do they taste like,
when they roll off your tongue?
When you tell
pass them to me close
and I will trace their path
along your scratchy jaw
hold your wrists and follow
each blue vein
to your fingertips
your cocked shoulder –
to find, perhaps,
the headwaters of your winter river.
And when the snow flies,
we will know
this is a place clean enough
to dip the water straight
from your hand.
– Sarah Gilman
The Talking Gourds Poetry Club meets at Arroyo Wine Bar Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m.
Telluride Choral Society: Spring Season
Rehearsals have barely begun, but already the theme of the Telluride Choral Society’s new season is set: “Rhythm of the Saints.” Telluride will be collaborating with the Durango Choral Society for its spring show, artistic director Rhonda Muckerman explained. “The title of Durango’s show is ‘Saints and Sinners,’” Muckerman said. “I wasn’t sure the music I chose would fit that title.” She came up with a play on words – Rhythm of the Saints – that also happens to be the title of a Paul Simon album. Too bad she couldn’t use the title song. With lyrics such as
Always a stranger when strange isn't fashionable
And fashion is rich people waving at the door
Or it's a dealer in drugs or in passion
Lies of a nature we've heard before
somehow, it just doesn’t fit a Christ Church Easter program. “But we will have a really nice version of ‘Love Me Like a Rock’” [also a Simon song] in our performance,” Muckerman said.
The pieces will be a “very eclectic” combination of spirituals, contemporary music, even Mozart. “Now he was a sinner,” she chuckled. “He fooled around, he drank himself to death. But he came out with the most marvelous, saintly music.”
Muckerman also directs KidSing, a choir composed of students in grades 2-12; after-school rehearsals for that group start Mondays and Tuesdays. The title of the young people’s Spring program is “A Time to Dream,” Muckerman said, “all about dreaming, sailing away, and imagination.”
For more information about rehearsals, call 970/729-0082.
Author Laura Munson at Arroyo
For years, Laura Munson couldn’t get published. She wrote several novels and none took. Then she wrote a startling story about her marriage in the New York Times. The essay got a lot of attention, became a book (This Is Not the Story You Think It Is) and turned into a bestseller. Munson’s in town this weekend teaching a literary retreat, the cost of which is in the four figures. She will also host a free get-together at Arroyo late in the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 2. Meet her there at 4:30 p.m.