Talking Gourds Poetry Club

Nucla poets featured at Talking Gourds Dec. 1st

TELLURIDE – The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club hosts two poets from Nucla (CO) this month, husband and wife team Ruth Duffy and Michael Olschewsky -- Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at Arroyo Gallery and Wine Bar in Telluride.

Born in the north country, Ruth Duffy was raised in Beer City, attended the University of Wisconsin, and earned a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. Hitchhiking west, she landed in Nucla, fell in love, married, moved to the Navajo Reservation and learned to be a teacher. She has published sporadically but continues writing small poems and strange short stories that she stashes in the bottom drawer of her Goodwill desk.  

Mike Olschewsky left Cleveland in 1975 and wound up in Nucla. He has a MS in Physics. He taught math and science for 11 years in Kayenta (AZ) on the Navajo Reservation. He taught for the next 20 years in Nucla/Norwood on the White Person’s Reservation. He has been writing poetry since high school. This is the first time anyone has wanted to hear it.

In Telluride, following Club announcements and the featured performance, there will be a short break, after which the gourd will be passed around the room to give Club members and attendees a chance to read a poem or two. The theme for November is “Snow”. Bring your own work or that of a favored poet to share.

At this point in time, with the failure of the Library bond issue in Montrose, it’s unclear if the collaboration with Montrose Regional Library will continue into 2016, given the freeze on funding. However, Duffy and Olschewsky will appear at the Open Bard reading at 6 the Montrose Regional Library Dec. 2nd.

Talking Gourds is prepping for next year’s First Tuesday lineup. In 2016 we’re going to feature a guest poet from afar and a local poet pairing, so we will have two guest performances each evening. So far, with some confirmations still to be made, widely acclaimed poet Judyth Hill of Conifer and a surprise local guest are scheduled for Jan. 5th, Jared Smith of Lafayette and Samantha Tisdel Wright of Ridgway Feb. 2nd, Aaron Anstett of Colorado Springs and Jean Bower of Montrose March 1st, Nancy Takacs of Wellington (UT) and Lee Taylor of Lawson Hill April 5th, and Ed Ward of Denver and Daiva Chesonis of Telluride May 3rd.
Also, Talking Gourds will be part of the annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 20-22. The Mark Fischer Poetry Prize will be awarded Friday, followed by an evening poetry reading; the celebrated Literary Burlesque will return Saturday night for a command performance, with a dance afterwards; and author Peter Heller will do a special Sundaynight reading, as well as participate in a panel discussion on journalism.

Talking Gourds Poetry Club is a program of the Telluride Institute in partnership with the Wilkinson Library, the Montrose Regional Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Ah Haa School for the Arts and Arroyo Telluride.  Members meet monthly, on first-Tuesdayevenings, at Arroyo’s at 220 E. Colorado Ave. beginning at 6 p.m. (next door to Ace Hardware).  The same guests appear at the Montrose Regional Library’s Open Mic the next evening (a Wednesday).  For more info, contact Meg Nagel at <> or 970-964-2548

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous donations from Audrey Marnoy, Peter Waldor, Elaine Fischer and the Montrose Friends of the Library. Call 970-729-0220 or visit the Gourds website <> for more info.