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Levering & Bower Make 3rd Bardic Trails Tour of Western Slope

TELLURIDE – Montrose local poet Jean Bower will share the Talking Gourds Poetry Club spotlight Mar. 1st at 6 p.m. at Arroyo’s Telluride with visiting master poet and 2015 Mark Fischer first runner-up Donald Levering of Santa Fe (NM).

“Donald has been an important regional voice in poetry for the last 30 years,” said Talking Gourds co-director Art Goodtimes. “We’re excited to have him back to read and happy to feature long-time local poet Jean Bower as his Bardic Trails companion.”

The Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds program kicks off a monthly three-stop Bardic Trails Tour on First Tuesdays, moves to Montrose Regional Library on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. (Mar. 2nd), and holds its finale at the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery in Fruita on Thursdays at 7 p.m. (Mar. 3rd).

Born in Kansas City and grown up there and in Oceanside (NY), Levering was awarded a NEA Fellowship, has published many books of poetry and has won a number of prizes and honors over the years. His 6th full-length book, The Water Leveling with Us from Red Mountain Press, placed 2nd in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Creative Verse Book Competition. His latest book, Coltrane’s God, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim: “Coltrane’s God is a hip, historical collection of ‘flatted thirds and sevenths,’ full of those characteristic, jazzy blue notes -- poems sung as if through saxophone and smoke,” according to Kevin Rabas, author of Bird’s Horn.

Levering has volunteered for Earthwatch as a species preservation activist for leatherback turtles in Costa Rica and queen conchs in Belize. He’s also worked with Enkosini on behalf of great white sharks in South Africa. He lives in Santa Fe with the artist Jane Shoenfeld.

Born in the Mile High City when the tallest building in the state was merely eleven stories tall, Bower received a BA from Loretto Heights College, in what is now South Denver. Back then, this women’s college was so far out of the city limits that she had to board there. She married while a student at Washington University (MO), lived in Hawaii with her Marine Corps husband, and returned to Denver, where she began teaching.  During the ‘60s she joined the Teacher Corps and taught at inner city schools in Cleveland (as it burned). She got an MA from Ohio’s Akron University.

Moving to Montrose with her family, she taught English in at the local Junior High, and attended classes at St. John’s College in Santa Fe as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts scholarship. At the age of 81 she joined a group of writers, The Purple Pagers, and has attended and performed at readings in Telluride and Montrose.

In Telluride, following Club announcements and the featured performances, there will be a short intermission, 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 March is the “Moon.” Bring your own work or that of a favored poet to share.

Poetry Club members meet monthly, on first-Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m., at Arroyo’s, 220 E. Colorado Ave., next door to Ace Hardware.