County to name Joanna Spindler new Poet Laureate
For immediate release … Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022 … For questions, contact Emma Youngquist at or Art Goodtimes at
TELLURIDE … Former Between the Covers Bookstore owner Daiva Chesonis of Norwood has been the San Miguel County Poet Laureate for the past three years. Now the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Program has nominated the Wilkinson Public Library’s Adult Programs Specialist Joanna Spindler of Hastings Mesa as the new County Poet Laureate.
“We’re delighted to have another wonderful bard to serve in this honorary capacity for the next several years,” explained Talking Gourds co-director Art Goodtimes of Wrights Mesa. “Joanna has inspired us with her poems, performances and her recent hosting of the Bardic Trails monthly virtual poetry nights on the first Tuesday of every month. She has many new ideas on how to use the platform of being a laureate to actively promote the literary arts in the region.”
The San Miguel County Board of Commissioners will consider a draft resolution naming Spindler to the post Wednesday January 19 at 12:24 in the afternoon. Board sessions are virtual and open to the public to attend on Zoom. Contact Chief Deputy Clerk to the Board Clerk Carmen Warfield at 970-728-3844 for more information.
At the Institute, Talking Gourds has been reorganizing after two years of Covid-curtailed activities and some personal challenges for the program directors. In addition the Talking Gourds pages on the Institute website are under construction.
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville has stepped down as a co-director but will become the newest member of the program’s Advisory Board. Emma Youngquist of Telluride will take on the role of the Institute’s Program Director for the Talking Gourds program, while Goodtimes will continue on as Projects Director. He plans to introduce Youngquist to the Board at the Wednesday meeting and Spindler hopes to recite an original poem in her new position as County Poet Laureate.
Entries for the national Fischer Poetry Prize ($1000) and the state Cantor Poetry Prize ($500), which began January 1, 2022, are asked to email Youngquist. She will then notify those prospective contestants when the guidelines, registration and submittal pages are completed.
Previous laureates include Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville (2006-10), Ellen Marie Metrick of Norwood (2011-13), Peter Waldor of Telluride (2014-16), Elissa Dickson of Telluride (2016-18) and Daiva Chesonis of Norwood (2019-2021).
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Joanna Spindler 1/2022
as presented to San Miguel County Board of Commissioners
I pledge allegiance to the rivershed of San Miguel,
and to the undersurface of mycelial network upon which we stand,
our aspen roots and minerals and water.
I pledge allegiance to our mother mountains Ajax, North Pole Peak, and solitary Lone Cone. I pledge allegiance to the elk herd on the valley floor and to the many elk herds nowhere near it.
I pledge allegiance to the waterfall in Ames, the bifurcated rhyolite of Ophir, and to the ponderosa forests down in Ilium.
I pledge allegiance, too, to sandstone Sawpit and the Mesas and Old Elam, to Placerville and staunch Old Ellardville.
I pledge allegiance to the wide dark skies of Norwood and the many soaring raptors over Redvale, to the monumental apple trees of Nucla and to blooming Naturita,
and beyond all to the rising red escarpments of the one and only Paradox.
I betroth my loyalty, my fellow human critters,
to all that predates each of us: perhaps even our kind.
To find a kinship with this place is each of our lives’ myriad work.
To form alliance with the seasons’ turning skies,
each rivulet revered of river water, and each evidential tree ring.
To keep relatives close by and our coyote packs much closer,
and our ear to earth the closest of them all.
So let me tell you, fellow San Miguellians,
we are perched upon a treasure:
For our bedrock is community,
our greatest blessing the tenax adaptability that’s modeled for us by each gentle juniper.
I pledge allegiance to us all:
One organism, under open skies, each human inextricable from ecosystem,
with oxygen and freely flowing sunshine for us all.