Gourds Fest Enlivens Off-Season | Up Bear Creek
by Art Goodtimes
Apr 24, 2008 | 651 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH … Yes, it’s spring in the Rockies. Windy. Capricious. And with lots of folks far away on vacation … But for those still around, be prepared this week for the poets and poetry-lovers to descend en masse on Telluride, and expect lots of interesting events as a result.

SLAM AT THE WILKINSON … With $600 in prizes about to be awarded to winning participants, it might be worth pulling out that dusty old manuscript this Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in the Wilkinson Library program room and joining in the competition. It’s free, although a donation jar will be there ... Talking Gourds has joined with the library to host a wild poetry slam event, with Day Acoli as emcee (she runs the wildly popular Café Nuba in Denver, a premier performance poetry space) and Bianca Mikahn as participant (Bianca was a member of Denver’s prize-winning slam team that took the national championship last year) … And for those that don’t know much about slams and want to learn, Bianca will lead a workshop Thursday morning at 10 a.m. at the Wilkinson Library (donation recommended) called “Slam 101.” Come learn from one of the state’s masters.

FREE FILMS … Thursday night there are two free movies (and a donation jar too) – both winners of Talking Gourds’ annual Tellus Award … The first film, Committing Poetry in a Time of War, was last year’s winner, and documents the firing of poet and teacher Bill Nevins at New Mexico’s Rio Rancho High School for allowing his kids to read antiwar poems as part of the classroom experience. It includes some powerful performances by New Mexico slam poets and Bill and Priscilla Baca y Candelaria, who also appears in the film, will be present to talk about the documentary … The other film, this year’s Tellus Award winner, is Polis is This – Charles Olsen and the Persistence of Place.

LOTS MORE … Check this paper for a full schedule of the five-day event, including workshops, walks, performances, open mikes and the event’s trademark talking gourds circles.

THE BAD NEWS … At least for me. I’ll miss Talking Gourds this week. My father collapsed on Friday night and was rushed to a hospital where it was found he had a brain tumor. Poor Vincenzo … Although I just came back from visiting him with my son Gregorio two weeks ago, by the time you read this I should be in California with him again… If you need me on county business, you can email me at or call my county cell phone, 708.0387

CLUB 19 … After a big battle with oil&gas insiders who’ve taken over control of Club 20, the regional lobbying group for Western Slope business and industry interests, I pulled out of the organization for not representing the interests of San Miguel County citizens and have created a big of a stir. Check out the political blog, Colorado Confidential, for a good summary of what’s going on: DEAD ZONES … The number of dead zones in the world’s oceans numbers about 150. A “dead zone” is where eutrophication from excess nutrients, fugitive from human activities, has depleted the water of oxygen, so that only anerobic bacteria can live there. And 150 is just the current count. The number of dead zones worldwide is reported by oceanic scientists to be doubling. And whole square miles of ocean have been affected … On an NPR radio essay about this problem recently, the scientist being interviewed reported that cyanobacteria not prevalent in 500 million years are blooming now because the oceans are changing to acidity and nutrient content characteristics which prevailed before multi-cellular life forms were able to inhabit the oceans. Primordial bacterial activity once altered their pH and other chemistry to the form that permitted habitation by higher forms of life. Now, human impacts have turned the evolutionary clock backwards in the oceans, and the ancient cyanobacteria are blooming out into the environment they last prospered in over 300 million years ago to start the job of making the earth fit for multi-cellular life all over again.

(© 2008 Art Goodtimes)

THE TALKING GOURD

What’s Driving Us?

a Renga for Mark Fischer

[Hai-unCouth #18, 19, 20, 21]

hurtlin’ along that long

petroleum tongue.

bitten by my own drive.

we are what we do.

our explosive specie reach

endemic. stop. go.

beyond the binary

παντα ρει where all things flow

who goes there?

where the hole are we?

locked behind glass.

burning up gas. out of control.

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