Talking Gourds March: Franks Coons Featured, 2/21

Sometimes growth is good. And the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds performance poetry program is pleased to announce that Frank H. Coons of Grand Junction will be inaugurating the Tour’s new Thursday nights in Delta County.

Frank Coons

Frank Coons

The March Talking Gourds show begins at Telluride Art’s HQ Gallery at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21; moves to La Zona Colona Coffeehouse in Ouray County at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22; premieres at Wisehart Springs Inn in Paonia beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 23; and has its grand finale in Mesa County’s Fruita in the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery at 7 p.m.

“There’s such enthusiasm around the spoken word in the North Fork Valley. Writers, artists and poets coalesce at the base of Mount Lamborn, gleaning inspiration along the banks of the North Fork of the Gunnison River,” said Paige Blankenbuehler, Paonia writer, editor and organizer of the North Fork event on March 23. “Paonia is a community bursting with creative energy and will be lovely leg of the Traveling Gourds Tour.”

Frank Coons is a poet and veterinarian who splits his time between Denver and Colorado’s Western Slope. His work has appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Eleventh Muse, El Malpais, Pinyon Review, Fruita Pulp, Imprints and elsewhere.

Frank was a finalist for the Fisher Prize for poetry in 2011 and 2013. His first chapbook, “Finding Cassiopeia,” was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in 2013. His second collection of poems, “Counting in Dog Years,” has just recently been released. Both books are published by Lithic Press.

“I love reading Frank’s poems,” explained Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Talking Gourds co-director. “He does such a masterful job of walking in both the human and more-than-human world at once. He’s a keen observer. Darkly funny at times, and always life affirming.”

The March theme is “Birds.”

talking gourds

April 25-28 will be the last tour of the season; we start up again in the fall. As April is National Poetry Month, we will feature poet and publisher Danny Rosen of the Western Slope’s own Lithic Press in Mesa County and celebrate legendary bard Jack Mueller of Log Hill Village. The theme will be “Lost.”

Nathan Brown, Oklahoma poet laureate, will be giving a special performances in April somewhere in San Miguel County, time and place to be announced.

The San Miguel County performance occurs at the Telluride Arts Gallery and Offices, 135 West Pacific, across the street from the library. The Ouray County reading takes place at La Zona Colona just off U.S. Highway 550. In Delta County the show opens at the Wisehart Springs Inn at 39508 Pitkin Rd just outside Paonia (northwest on Pitkin Rd. off of Colo. Hwy. 133, going up on Pitkin Mesa and then left on Royal Road). And in Mesa County the event is held at the Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, which is located at 138 South Park Square #202 in Fruita (Upstairs — enter through lobby door by the east side of the building on Mesa Street).

In Telluride, we follow Club announcements and the featured performance(s) with a short break. Then we pass the gourd and everyone has a chance to read a poem or two (their own, or one from a favorite poet that speaks to the theme).

For info on the Colona reading, contact Craig Jackman at or 970-249-4214. For info on the Paonia event, contact Paige Blankenbuehler at or 720-333-5350. And for info on the Fruita performance, contact Kyle Harvey or Danny Rosen at (970) 858-3636.

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 Fischer Prize for poetry with its $3000 in prizes. For more info, go to


Talking Gourds programming survives without government grant or subsidy through the generous support of private donors and Club members.

There is a one-time fee of $25 to join the Talking Gourds Poetry Club.

That makes you a full member for a year and gets you on our cyber mailchimp list for readings, festivals and contests. And it means that you are one of those generous supporters who believes in the importance of the arts on the Western Slope.

A $10 annual renewal fee keeps you up to date as a full member, renews your subscription to our private email newsletter, and gives you half-price for Fischer Prize submissions and free Poetry Club broadsides.

Talking Gourds Poetry Club and its Traveling Gourds Tour are collaborative projects of the Telluride Institute — in partnership with the Wilkinson Public Library, Between the Covers Bookstore, Ah Haa School for the Arts, Lithic Bookstore & Gallery, La Zona Colona Coffee, Wisehart Springs Inn, KVNF, the Telluride Literary Arts Festival, Telluride Arts and the Telluride Mushroom Festival.

Talking Gourds is indebted to generous contributions from Audrey Marnoy, Peter Waldor, the late Elaine Fischer and her many friends, Daiva Chesonis, Elissa Dickson, Laura Colbert, Jess Newens, Judy Kohin, Art Goodtimes, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Danny Rosen, Kyle Harvey, Craig Jackman, Paige Blankenbuehler, Art & Erin Wisehart, Brian Calvert, Amy Levek, Eduardo Brummel, Lee Taylor, Michael Olschewsky and Ruth Duffy.

Call 970-729-0220 (voice or text, but no voicemail please) or visit the Gourds website <> for more info.

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