Tuesday
Feb192013

Denver Poet SETH launches his new poetry collection A Black Odyssey

Denver Poet SETH launches his new poetry collection A Black Odyssey

With a dynamic performance event at Tattered Cover, LoDo

Performance poet SETH announces the book launch of his recently published poetry collection, A Black Odyssey. A poetic memoir spanning 30 years of experience, A Black Odyssey interlinks the poet’s most popular poems and performance pieces into a single narrative. Using Homer’s ancient epic as his model, SETH charts his own life journey as a Black man in contemporary America. The book launch will be held at the Tattered Cover, 1628 16th Street, downtown Denver on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

 A Black Odyssey is available at Tattered Cover, Amazon, and at WagingArt.com. For more information contact poetseth@gmail.com.

Friday
Feb152013

Follow Up on Writing the Sacred

 

This past January several WCWF members went on a writing and yoga retreat at St. Benedict's Monastery. Some of our members have been kind enough to share the writing they created during the retreat!

 

Stolen by Faeries
By Dulce Bell-Bulley
Snowmass 1.5.13

A memory fragment
Caught in a yellow room
where a little girl plays on a smooth yellow rug.

The window,
an oblong to the outside,
looks and falls out
unto the thick coat
of the naked earth
clothed now in fallen, purple, paper lanterns.

Outside, the bougainvillea
taps a thin wooden finger
on the window.
Tap, tap.

Inside,
the little girl sleeps in the yellow bed in the big wide room.

The moon, thin and bright
gleams darkly.
The bougainvillea's trunk
rises thickly, strongly
skyward.

On the ground, night creatures
Scurry and flutter.
A snake, long and hungry
slides across the bare earth.

The bougainvillea reaches up.
Its pithy wooden trunk entwined with vine,
Winds upwards into the night sky
stolen with stars.

The tapping wooden finger
takes the sleeping girl
Up, up the trunk
Out, out to the night sky,
onto the canopy of leaves.
Face up. Star-ward.
Stolen.


***


Musing
By Debra Bailey

How many angels can dance upon a pin?
I would rather see one balance there,
looking both left and right,
watchful:
at any moment,
they might need to fly off
and rescue me.


***
 


I was born here,
and I belong here,
and I will never leave
               Mary Oliver, “What the Body Says”

 
              I Will Never Leave
By Debra Bailey

Blades of grass still bear
the imprint of my step.
Canyon walls resonate
with echoes I have heard.
You may think I have been erased;
this is not the case.
My joy in earth’s beauty is spread
like a mantle on her surface.
My weariness is felt along her upward trails.
I was here, and here I will always be
a memory upon the earth.

***

How Shall a Voice
By Sandra Dorr

How shall my fist strike into my own heart,
Leave no trace of what was wanted, to start,
Dredging up Hades, the dark, the dark,
The mother’s face on her last bed,
The child closing the door with his heart,
And into this empty open hand
left to the silence of a green woodland
comes a pure sound like a spring that cannot be heard
but fills the ancient body, familiar as a bird,
whitens the air and sings through the trees
a maiden, a mother, a mysterious breeze,
speaking what she says, sweet messenger of ease.

***

 All That’s Left

 by Jill Burkey

Two soldiers in blue uniforms rode up the dirt lane on horses dark with sweat, saddles jingling.  They dismounted, hitched their horses to the post, and strode up the wooden steps of the front porch.  The dark-haired soldier knocked three times on the front door.  A woman appeared, wiping her hands on her apron.  The soldiers removed their hats.  Her complexion was fair and her brown hair was pulled back in a bun.  Her nose was small and delicate, and she had pretty hazel eyes.

“Afternoon ma’am,” said the soldier who had knocked.  “Are you,” he looked down at a piece of paper he held in his hand, “Sarah Jane Tryon, wife of Aaron P. Tryon?”

 “Yes, but why?” she asked, already knowing, not wanting to know.

“Ma’am, your husband, he –”

“No,” she said.  “Whatever you’re going to say, it isn’t true.  My husband is fine.  He’s just fine and he’s coming home soon.  I have a letter from him.  It’s right here, see?”  Her small hand darted into the pocket of her apron, embroidered with little white flowers, and pulled out a tattered square of paper.  She held it high as she whisked through the door.  “So you gentlemen can just be on your way.”

“Ma’am, we’re awfully sorry,” the tall soldier said, following her to the maple tree she had braced herself against.  “Your husband was injured at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, shot through the pelvis.  He was taken to a field hospital, but there was nothing they could do.  It was his time.”

“No, it wasn’t his time!” Sarah’s voice rose.  “I have a letter from him right here.  He’s okay.”  She unfolded the letter and held it up for them to see.

“Ma’am, I know this is a lot to take in, and we’re very sorry, but we’ve brought you his effects.  The dark-haired soldier held out a package wrapped in brown paper and string.

“I do not want your death package.  My husband isn’t dead.”

“Would it be easier if we opened it for you, ma’am?”

“Do whatever you have to do,” she said, her tone lifeless now.  She thought of the little farm, how she and her babies had barely survived the year since her husband had gone to war, how the only thing that had kept her going was the hope that he would come back soon.  The dreaded rebels, and dreaded heat, she thought, as a rivulet of sweat trickled down her back.

The dark-haired soldier peeled back the paper to reveal a likeness of herself she had given Aaron to carry with him into war the day he had kissed her goodbye.  Beneath it was a brown leather belt and the pair of grey pants she had sent him for Christmas.  All that was left of her husband.

Her knees buckled, she felt weightless and almost free, then darkness.

A young boy appeared in the doorway, staring at the soldiers and his mother, collapsed on the grass.

Inside a baby began to cry.

***

 

Connections

By Charles Forster


I was sitting in the Catholic church in Basalt waiting for the funeral of our neighbor to begin.  There were so many people there with whom I have had connections over the years, children growing up that I had last seen as babies.  An old rancher who lived up the road from us, who would stop and talk on his four wheeler as the ash collected on the end of his cigarette. He told me once when he was a boy that he got up one morning and looked at the big slide above the desert ditch and noticed something different, and realized there had been an additional slide overnight.  He has long since remarried and moved out west toward Palisade.

I have been in this place 25 years and these are my people, or should be.  I am puzzled by the fact that this place still does not feel like home.  There is some folk wisdom that says  relationships unfold largely as an elaboration of the way they started.  When I came here, I did not want to leave the place where I was living, and I came sight unseen, on the recommendation of friends back in Iowa.

The monastery where I live is populated largely by people from the east coast, New York and Boston.  It took me several months when I first arrived to realize that they were different from the people I have lived with for most of my life.  Midwesterners are open-hearted and connect easily; there is a sort of childlike transparency about them that comes from the agricultural traditions that have been part of the cultures transplanted from Europe to the new world.  Many of the men I live with are easterners and grew up in large cities, where to be open and transparent is not a good survival technique.  They are more inclined to be guarded and reserved in interpersonal relationships.  They say all the right things, but the emotion does not carry across.  There is also something I have observed in monks in general -- they often had major father issues, mostly of the absent variety, either literally by not being there at all or not being present because of alcoholism or some other -ism which did not have a name in that  generation. The stereotypical male of that time was a sad stereotype who was nonetheless lionized in popular myth as the loner, the cowboy, the gunfighter who rode off alone into the sunset without connection or relationship.

I bought into the myth myself, probably even brought it with me into the monastery.  The solitary seeks truth alone, though supposedly in a community with others who are also seeking the truth.  But woe to you if you are honest about what you find in your search.  If your search results are not consistent with those of others, you will find yourself completely on your own and without the companionship you might have come here to find.

I have a fair understanding of how institutions work, having lived in one for a long time.  What happens to the people who live within them most often is that they completely identify with the institution.  It took me a long time to understand this, in part because the monks I knew well prior to entering the monastery were often people who were remarkably free within themselves and long ago ceased to identify with the institution or belief system.  They were the reason I thought I could live in the monastery and be free myself.

Have I become free?  For me there is only mystery.  Belief systems may be necessary developmental tools for the human spirit, but their usefulness does not seem to extend much beyond the early stages.

I do believe in the power of human beings to create a society where everyone has the means and the support to flourish and experience the fullness of life.  I believe we are biologically programmed for altruism, and that selfishness and destructiveness are aberrations.  One person or group cannot grow rich at the expense of others.  It won't work in the long run.  The whole ship will eventually sink, as ecologists have been saying.

We in the west have created an unsustainable way of living.  Will we find a way forward into a world in which we can flourish and which we can also happily and gratefully pass on to our children?  Words commonplace in the spiritual disciplines may have to be redefined in order to be useful in our common human project.  An enlightened person in the future may be one who worked to find a way to provide clean water, wholesome food, and clean air for people.  Or someone who found a way to get political entities to talk to each other in a way that would make nuclear weapons obsolete and unnecessary.   Or someone who found a way to provide free and unlimited education for everyone.  The list is endless.

So there I was at our neighbor's funeral.  The great majority of people there were ranchers, working men and women who know how to use a rifle, how to skin and dress a deer, people for whom religion and belief in God are givens, unquestioned and not much talked about.  And probably not much thought about either.  They regard us who live in the monastery with the quiet respect that they show for everybody.  They are polite, practical, honest people.  Sort of like the Midwesterners I grew up with, and am myself.

The priests at the altar in their robes appear out of place.  They raise their hands up and say a prayer.  Then a man from the congregation gets up and reads a terrifying thing from the Book of Daniel about punishment, reward and the ways of God.  I find it chilling.   I knew this man.  He was our neighbor.  He loved his wife and family.  They were married for 63 years.  Later in the service, his granddaughter got up and gave a beautiful account of her grandfather, her experiences with him, what sort of man he was.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.  She was the real priestess, the one who spoke simple truths from the heart and brought magic into the room.

 

***

 

Friday
Feb152013

Fruita Fourth Fridays Press Release: Friday, February 22nd, 2013

 What: Fruita Fourth Fridays

When: Friday, February 22nd from 5-9pm

Where: Downtown Fruita

 The first installment of Fruita Fourth Fridays was a huge success. This months Fourth Friday, on February 22nd, we are kicking it up a notch. In addition to the 8 businesses that participated last month, 4 more have joined in on the festivities. Fruita is going to be happing on Friday, February 22nd! Come join us in Downtown Fruita for an evening of art, music, poetry, fashion, food, drink and more!

Participating Businesses:

Aspen Street Coffee (live music and poetry slam)
Cavalcade (live music by Miss Emily and Project Groove)
Copper Club Brewing (great beer, live music and art)
Cornerstone Mortgage (art)
Hot Tomato (food, drink and photography)
Over the Edge Sports (live music)
Pablo's Fruita (art)
Rose Hue Gallery (art)
Rye Gallery (Art Opening for Roger McCoy, Martha McCoy and Joshua Butler. 7-9pm)
Suds Brothers Brewery (brewery tours on the hour)
The Vintage Common (locally handmade fashions)
Turn the Page Used Bookstore (artist Jeff Dershem and author Jim Hale. 5-7pm)

 For more information, please contact Kyle Harvey at fruitapulp@gmail.com!

Friday
Feb152013

February 21 reading at Planet Earth

The ongoing reading series, Poets and Writers of Colorado Mesa University, continues at Planet Earth & the 4 Directions Gallery, 524 Colorado Avenue, at 7pm. Readings will be held each third Thursday and are free and open to the public. 

February 21 readers: Charles McLeod, Randy Phillis, and Alana Voth.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Writers in the Schools places professional writers in local classrooms

 
Aymia Stillwagon listens while classmate Ian Prichard reads his poem at a Writers in the Schools celebration Jan. 25 at Mesa View Elementary School in Orchard Mesa.

Program helps students find their voice

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Local renowned poet Wendy Videlock's eyes were moist when the room full of third graders stood up and together recited Videlock's poem, “Hawk.” It was a surprise for Videlock who was attending the Writers in the Schools celebration Jan. 25 at Mesa View Elementary School where students, parents, teachers and writers-in-residence had gathered to hear the students' published works.


Colorado's Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a residency program founded by Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book, where professional poets, playwrights and fiction writers teach writing workshops in the schools.

The multi-week program culminates with a published anthology and public reading of student work. That's what was taking place Friday at Mesa View, when writer-in-residence Patrick Metoyer asked his students to recite the poem “Hawk” they'd memorized weeks earlier.

In 2011, Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book began partnering with the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado Writers Forum to bring the Writers in the Schools program to the Western Slope for the first time. The program started in Denver about four years ago.

Local writers Jill Burkey and Sandy Dorr, director of Western Colorado Writers Forum, attended the Colorado Humanities-WITS training in 2011, and became writers-in-residence that year at Pomona and Scenic elementary schools.

The program was held at three Western Slope schools in fall 2012 — Mesa View and Tope Elementary in Grand Junction and Bea Underwood Elementary in Parachute. Celebrations of the students' work were held at each of the schools this week and last.

Burkey and Patrick Metoyer were the writers-in-residence this past fall.

Eight-year old Ian Prichard who said he enjoys writing, described his work to a visitor before reading the actual poem to an appreciative crowd at the Mesa View celebration.

“I wanted to write something about Thanksgiving,” Ian said. “I remember the rolls were so good, butter was dripping down all over me and I had to lick it off. It was bouncing around in my stomach.”

The poem was a hit!

Burkey has taught the WITS program at each of the Grand Junction schools.

“Most kids get really excited about it — it's something different,” Burkey said. “We try and make it fun, get them inspired, interested in writing. We help them find their voice.”

Metoyer said he typically started by introducing a poem that the students would recite, then talk about. The students wrote a poem together, followed by 5-20 minutes of individual writing time. The last 15 minutes were spent sharing a favorite line, or word from the poem, he said.

“They chose what they wanted in the anthology,” Metoyer said. “I helped a little. The students did most of the revision, editing.”

The anthology published at the culmination of the program includes one piece of writing from each of the students.

“Seeing their work in printed anthologies that look like other books on the shelf helps students realize that great writing is created by people very much like themselves,” according to Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book.

Writers in the Schools is funded primarily by the National Endowment for the Arts, Colorado Creative Industries and National Endowment for the Humanities. Participating schools also contribute, said program coordinator Tim Fernandez.

Since WITS started in Denver about four years ago, the program has expanded to Pueblo, Greeley, the eastern plains, and now the Western Slope. The program is available for grades K through 12, and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Program helps students find their voice

Sharon Sullivan
ssullivan@gjfreepress.com

http://westerncoloradowriters.squarespace.com/storage/writers-in-the-schools/bilde.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1360116517471 

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Local renowned poet Wendy Videlock's eyes were moist when the room full of third graders stood up and together recited Videlock's poem, “Hawk.” It was a surprise for Videlock who was attending the Writers in the Schools celebration Jan. 25 at Mesa View Elementary School where students, parents, teachers and writers-in-residence had gathered to hear the students' published works.

Colorado's Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a residency program founded by Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book, where professional poets, playwrights and fiction writers teach writing workshops in the schools.

The multi-week program culminates with a published anthology and public reading of student work. That's what was taking place Friday at Mesa View, when writer-in-residence Patrick Metoyer asked his students to recite the poem “Hawk” they'd memorized weeks earlier.

In 2011, Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book began partnering with the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado Writers Forum to bring the Writers in the Schools program to the Western Slope for the first time. The program started in Denver about four years ago.

Local writers Jill Burkey and Sandy Dorr, director of Western Colorado Writers Forum, attended the Colorado Humanities-WITS training in 2011, and became writers-in-residence that year at Pomona and Scenic elementary schools.

The program was held at three Western Slope schools in fall 2012 — Mesa View and Tope Elementary in Grand Junction and Bea Underwood Elementary in Parachute. Celebrations of the students' work were held at each of the schools this week and last.

Burkey and Patrick Metoyer were the writers-in-residence this past fall.

Eight-year old Ian Prichard who said he enjoys writing, described his work to a visitor before reading the actual poem to an appreciative crowd at the Mesa View celebration.

“I wanted to write something about Thanksgiving,” Ian said. “I remember the rolls were so good, butter was dripping down all over me and I had to lick it off. It was bouncing around in my stomach.”

The poem was a hit!

Burkey has taught the WITS program at each of the Grand Junction schools.

“Most kids get really excited about it — it's something different,” Burkey said. “We try and make it fun, get them inspired, interested in writing. We help them find their voice.”

Metoyer said he typically started by introducing a poem that the students would recite, then talk about. The students wrote a poem together, followed by 5-20 minutes of individual writing time. The last 15 minutes were spent sharing a favorite line, or word from the poem, he said.

“They chose what they wanted in the anthology,” Metoyer said. “I helped a little. The students did most of the revision, editing.”

The anthology published at the culmination of the program includes one piece of writing from each of the students.

“Seeing their work in printed anthologies that look like other books on the shelf helps students realize that great writing is created by people very much like themselves,” according to Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book.

Writers in the Schools is funded primarily by the National Endowment for the Arts, Colorado Creative Industries and National Endowment for the Humanities. Participating schools also contribute, said program coordinator Tim Fernandez.

Since WITS started in Denver about four years ago, the program has expanded to Pueblo, Greeley, the eastern plains, and now the Western Slope. The program is available for grades K through 12, and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.