Thomas Hardy called it “emotion put into nature”. Writer Paul Engle described poetry as “an ordinary language raised to the N power”.
In-person poetry readings, so popular in this region, have taken a back seat during the pandemic. Finally, they are back: tonight marks the second installation – five readings are scheduled by March – of Poetry at the Tavern, a new series at the Wright Opera House.
Call it a new series, with some big improvements. Poetry at the Tavern is a successor to the Open Bard poetry series, co-founded by San Juan scribes Beth Paulson and Kierstin Bridger and formerly performed at the Sherbino Theater.
Upgrades are welcome in winter: unlike the Sherbino (and without touching this atmospheric historic space), the tavern has a fireplace and serves mixed drinks and small bites, in addition to beer and wine. There is no change to the poetic “menu” which has always been excellent: as before, guest readers will include poets who reside in this community and readers returning from more distant places by popular demand. Award-winning scribes Samantha Tisdel Wright of Silverton and Bridger of Placerville will be guest readers in January and February, for example. This month and next – when trips through the Rockies are likely to be less strenuous than in a deep winter – guests will include CSU Pueblo poet Juan Morales, who will be in the tavern tonight, and poet Wayne Miller. by CU Denver.
As always, after the main event and a short intermission, attendees will be invited to read a poem or two during an open mic session. The entry price remains the same as before: only $ 5.
YOUTH POETRY EVENING
Open Bard lives in another incarnation: it has become a literary series at the Sherbino Theater. “We have an Open Bard Poetry Night for Youth every year, but we had to postpone last year because of COVID,” said Tricia Oakland, the programmer for Sherbino. “We wanted to make him even more special when he came back this year, and with a grant from Colorado Humanities, we were able to bring in Bobby LeFebre. He is the state’s youngest poet laureate and the first Latinx to receive this honor. It’s really special and phenomenal ”to be able to have him as a special guest for Youth Poetry Night on October 23rd.
Earlier this spring, LeFebre “hosted a poetry writing ideas session / workshop that was free to all attendees on Zoom,” Oakland explained. “We have since reached out to local teachers, home school groups and the Voyager Youth program” about the event next Saturday, which begins at 6:30 pm. All are welcome: although the website invites local youth from Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties “from grades 6 to 12” to participate, “age is not a sticking point,” stressed Oakland. “If there is a 3e or 4e grader, or someone even younger, who rode something, we will never turn them down. We absolutely want them to read their work here.
The deadline for admission is Tuesday (registration at sherbino.org).
“The great thing to remember about this event is that it won’t go to trial,” Oakland added. “In the past that was the case, and there were prizes offered. In our discussions with Bobby, he pointed out that in general poetry and writing are subjective things, and the idea of rating it “- with, say, a price -” is not conducive to children to create. He was very keen on it and we totally agreed. During the Zoom session, we really wanted to create an atmosphere where kids felt they could share their creativity and were inspired to write more – to continue to perfect and craft their pieces.
That spirit will prevail at Sherbino next Saturday, where LeFebre will perform in person, offer some remarks on what inspired him to become a poet, and then pass the microphone to local youth.
“We would like as many people as possible to submit their poetry,” Oakland said. “We will have freebies for everyone who participates. “
The real gifts will be what the children return – through ordinary language raised to the N power.
Poetry at the Tavern takes place the second Thursday of each month at the Wright Opera House at 7 p.m. Annual Youth Poetry Night at the Sherbino Theater, hosted by Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre, October 23. Doors open at 6 p.m., and readings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.