The Crestone Poetry Festival


The 2nd Crestone Poetry Festival (Poem Fest) will be taking place in Crestone, Colorado this coming February 21-24, 2019. Stay tuned for details.

Last Year's Event and Schedule:

Friday Feb. 23

6:00 Registration, Crestone Charter School

7:00 Reading, “Heartbeat Geography”; Aaron Abeyta, Peggy Godfrey, Anne MacNaughton.  Crestone Charter School, $10

9:00 “Poet’s Café,” Jazz and spoken word with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Cloud Station $5 cover

Saturday Feb 24  

8:30-9:45Workshop Registration

Crestone Charter School. Breakfast burritos, baked goods, fruit, and coffee for sale in the Charter School Cafe. 

9:30-12:30 Poetry and writing workshops, Crestone Charter School, $15 each

1:00-2:15 Crestone Poets, Crestone Charter School ($10 for the afternoon readings)

2:30-5:30 Featured Colorado Poets and Open mic, Crestone Charter School, 

7:00-8:30 “Poetic Medicine” Esther Belin, Eutimia Cruz-Montoya, and Juliana Aragón Fatula. 

Crestone Charter School, $10

9:00-???: “Rhythm and News” Music, Poetry, Good Cheer and Dancing

with Art Goodtimes and Luna Verde.

Crestone Brewing Company, $5 donation

Sunday Feb 25

9-10 Breakfast and Book signings 

Pick up a book to travel with and get it signed. Burritos, baked goods, fruit, and coffee for sale Crestone Charter School Café 

10-12 “Talking Gourd Circle,” Crestone Charter School; Bring a poem to share 

The Program 

Friday February 23rd 

Heartbeat Geography
7:00 Crestone Charter School, $10 admission
Where are you at home? The answer to this question may be where you grew up, where you live, or where you are welcomed. This evening’s readers explore “heartbeat geographies”—those places that engage us physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Anne MacNaughton, longtime resident of Taos, New Mexico and co-founder of the legendary Taos Poetry Circus, celebrates the ecological and cultural communities of northern New Mexico. Aaron Abeyta, the mayor of Antonito, Colorado and a professor of English and creative writing at Adams State University, reads poems deeply rooted in the San Luis Valley. Peggy Godfrey brings the perspectve of a long time valley rancher. Peter Anderson of Crestone, adds his own reflections on making a home at the end of the road and introduces some poets from the Crestone Charter School.

Poet’s Cafe
9:00 Cloud Station. Downtown Crestone, $5 admission
Poetry and jazz, beginning with a performance by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and ending with an open mic. As former Utah Poet laureate David Lee says, Rose- merry Wahtola Trommer “never fails to bring sensual joy and rich music” to a performance. She has performed poetry at hundreds of libraries, colleges, festivals, schools, and groups. Since 1999, she has been singing with Heartbeat, a seven-wom- an accappella group based in Telluride. Don’t miss Rosemerry and an assortment of open mic poets jamming with some of Crestone’s favorite jazz players. 

Saturday February 24, 2018 

Workshop Registration ($15 each)


Crestone Charter School. Breakfast burritos, baked goods, fruit, and coffee for sale in the Charter School Cafe. 

Session 1 Workshops: 9:45-11:00 

The Syllable and the Sacred:

 ½ Million Years of Language

Anne Macnaughton

A quick look at the origin of language, poetry performance and the oral nature of poetry. We will examine the poet’s place in society and will create both individual and group poems in this painless, peaceful, promiscuous, powerful, potent and practical workshop.

Poetry from the Heart’s Far-Flung Places / Uche Ogbuji 

Seeded with prompting based on travels and explorations of emblematic poetry from Africa, Europe and North America. Participants follow an approach based on the ‘excursion’ principle of brainstorming in order to tap into touchstone themes in each’s travels, real or imagined, across the world, or to the county seat. 

Thanks for the Ode / Juan Morales 

The ode remains a classic form we use to celebrate our lives. It directly addresses our socks, the lone tree on a busy block, haunting works of art, and even what we fear. It becomes more important in our turbulent times. It helps us reach out to hope and simply opens our eyes. In this generative workshop, we will explore the complex layers of the ode, find methods of creating tension, connect it to witness and social justice, and take a closer look at poets that champion the form in surprising ways. 


Remembering Your Medicine / Eutimia Montoya Cruz 

This workshop honors the mutual, intercultural healing that is needed at this time to heal ourselves, each other, and the world. We will learn about hands-on touch med- icine, the power of invoking what we seek with our words, prose and poetry (it’s called spelling for a reason), as well as ceremonial ways of connecting to our collective and individual healing, in a safe, sage, and dynamic healing community. 

Poets, Storytellers, Singers, and Liars / Juliana AragÓn Fatula 

In the process of creating, revising, and performing poetry, these five rules for writing poetry may be useful:
1. There are no rules.
2. Write about anything 

3. It doesn’t have to rhyme.
4. Use imagery, alliteration, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, onomatopoeia...
5. Make it memorable.
For this workshop, come prepared to tell the truth, but not the facts; write about whatever moves you; stand in front of the world and share your creation. Leave your egos at the door and bring your imagination, sense of humor, darkness, and beauty to the pen and paper. 

Session 2 Workshops: 11:15-12:30 

Mindful Encounters between the 

Head and Heart / Esther Belin 

If you look at me, the me in myself may be different from the me you perceive. In order to have a correct perception, we need to have a direct encounter. 

~ Thich Nhat Hanh The Abhidharma writings on Buddhist psychology say that feelings are of three kinds: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. Using this premise, workshop partici- pants will begin this direct encounter with a brief expressive arts practice and finish with a writing practice to uncover the three kinds of feelings. The intent of this workshop is for participants to strengthen the connection between heart and head, become aware of the obstructions, and balance the knowledge and understanding spaces within each person (and of course to share good stories and write good poetry). 

Poetry and the News
Jackie St. Joan, Jose Alcantara, Karen Douglass
Williams Carlos Williams wrote: “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men (sic) die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” What kind of news do we get from poetry? What happens when poems address the news? What does news poetry look like in this political climate where so many are obsessed with news or turned off by news and we are not really sure what news is or what poetry is either for that matter. The Colorado Independent, an online newspaper covering people, power, and policy has made a commitment to including poems in their presentation of the news. (And the Indy offers an honorarium too!) So what can poetry say about it all? Join three of the Indy’s poets as we discuss these questions and try our hand at responding to prompts and sharing the results

The Four Homes of Poetry

Aaron Abeyta 

The four cornerstones of poetry are explained, explicated, examined and “exposed” for poets of all levels. Through close reading, we will study the ways that acclaimed poets utilize the “four homes” in their works. The tools presented in this workshop will serve poets at any stage in the writing process. 

The Comic Muse, or, So This Poet Walks into a Bar /  

David Rothman
Why don’t light verse, intentional doggerel and satire get more respect? Why is un- rhymed verse rarely funny? What verse forms do humorous writers use most often for their comic poems, and why? Why is comedy harder than dying? Does light verse have a short shelf life? Is tomorrow Tuesday? Where are my keys? Why are we asking all these questions? These and similar inquiries will occupy us as we do the difficult work of trying to figure out how to be funny in verse. Concerned with the nature of humor along with the future of humanity, we will consider poetry based on language play, poetry not based on language play, poetry occasionally based on language play, poetry in plays, the poetry of praise, Scottish border lays, the end of days, why none of us seems to be able to get a raise, the unclassifiable works of Ogden Nash, and the question of how librarians can figure out which shelf to put them on. 

Making More of Metaphors / Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer 

The art of writing poems is less a way of knowing and more a means of discovery. One of the greatest tools in this adventure is metaphor, the language of connection. In quantum physics, they speak of the holographic universe, the idea that the powerful energy of the whole can be found in the tiniest particles. When we compare our life/ human life to any part of the world—a blade of grass, a nest, an old car—it can change the way we see. Join in day of play with “the great muscle of metaphor,” as Adrienne Rich calls it. No previous experience necessary, but you’ll need an open mind. 


Saturday Afternoon/Evening 1:00-5:00 Readings and Open Mics, $10 

Soup, bread, and coffee for sale in the Charter School Cafe 

1:00-2:15 Poems that Sing 

When and how does a poem become especially significant in your life? Crestone poets offer short presentations on poems, original or by another poet, that have had special meaning for them. 

2:30-4:00 Everybody is a Star 

Poncha Springs radio poet Barbara Ford hosts Wendy Videlock, Danny Rosen, and other seasoned poets from all over Colorado, as well as a mix of new voices. If you want to hear a wide variety of Colorado’s poetic voices, come listen. If you have a poem you want to add to the mix, bring it for the last half of this session, which is open mic time. 

4:15-5:15 The Writer’s Trail 

Many poets begin their writing lives in a classroom. In this session, poets from writing programs across the state, both teachers and students, share their work. This session begins with a few featured readers including David Rothman, Juan Morales,and John Nizalowski, and ends with an open mic. Writing students are especially welcome. 

7:00-8:30 Poetic Medicine, $10 

“The poem,“ says physician and poet Rafael Campo, “is an opportunity to create an integrated whole from so many broken shards.” Saturday evening’s poets, each in their own way, put that notion into practice. Esther Belin, an award-winning Diné poet and multimedia artist with several award-winning books from the University of Arizona Press, makes a map of her life in language. Eutimia Cruz-Montoya incorporates poetry into her work as a contemporary medicine woman. Juliana Aragón Fatula wraps herself in a blanket of language that reveals both darkness and light. 

9:00 till ??? Rhythm and News, $5 Donation
Crestone Brewing Company, Downtown Crestone
Combine some good musicians with a high-voltage performing poet like Art Goodtimes, then open up the stage for anyone who has some inspired poetry to add to the mix... there’s no telling where it all may go. Paleo-hippy Art Goodtimes, former Green County Commissioner of San Miguel County and former poet laureate of the western slope, is a force of nature and a tireless animator of poetry gatherings throughout Colorado. Art leads off the evening in a poetry jam with Luna Verde. Then the stage is open for other poets who feel led to mix the news of poetry with music. Don’t miss these poetic tectonics. 


Sunday February 25 

9-10 Breakfast and Book signings 

Pick up a book to travel with and get it signed Burritos, baked goods, fruit, and coffee for sale Crestone Charter School Café 

10-12 Talking Gourds Circle with Art Goodtimes 

Bring a poem, original or otherwise, to share with old and new friends. 


Featured Readers and Workshop Leaders 

Aaron A. Abeyta is a Colorado native, professor of English, and the Mayor of Antonito, Colorado, his hometown. He is the author of four collections of poetry and one novel. For his book, colcha, Abeyta received an American Book Award and the Colorado Book Award. In addition, his novel, Rise, Do Not be Afraid, was a finalist for the 2007 Col- orado Book Award and El Premio Aztlan. Abeyta was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry, and he is the former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, as named by the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. Abeyta is also a recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership Award for 2017. 

Jose A. Alcantara is a former construction worker, baker, commercial fisherman, math teacher, and studio photographer. He currently works in a bookstore in Aspen, Colorado. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Colorado Independent, Poetry Dai- ly, The Southern Review, Spillway, Rattle, and 99 Poems for the 99%. 

Peter Anderson’s most recent books include Heading Home: Field Notes (Conundrum Press, 2017), a collection of flash prose and prose poems exploring rural life and the modern day eccentricities of the American West; Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015), an anthology of Grand Canyon poems edited with Rick Kempa, which was nominated for a Colorado Book Award; and First Church of the Higher Elevations (Conundrum Press, 2015), a collection of essays on wildness, mountain places, and the life of the spirit. Peter was the Bennett Fellow Writer-in-Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy for the 2015-16 school year. He lives with his family on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. 

Esther Belin, a writer and multi-media artist. In 2000, she won the American Book Award for her first book of poetry, From the Belly of My Beauty. Her second collection of poetry, Of Cartography, examines identity politics, checkerboard land status, and the interplay of words (abstraction) and image (realism). She holds degrees from Antioch University, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Navajo Nation citizen and lives in southwest Colorado with her four daughters and husband. 

 Karen Douglass’s books include Red Goddess Poems; Bones in the Chimney (fiction); Green Rider, Thinking Horse (non-fiction); Sostenuto, (poems) and The Great Hun- ger (poems), which is available from Plain View Press (2009). Individual poems have appeared in a wide variety of publications. A new chapbook, Two-Gun Lil, is scheduled for independent publication in 2011. Karen holds an MA in English Lit from Georgia Southern and an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College. Please, visit her at www.kvd- 

Juliana Aragón Fatula’s, second book, Red Canyon Falling on Churches, winner of the High Plains Poetry Award 2016, and her debut poetry book, Crazy Chicana in Cath- olic City are published by Conundrum Press and her chapbook, The Road I Ride Bleeds, is published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. She is a fifth generation Southern Colo- rado Native and a lifetime member of Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Foundation. She has been a writer in residence for Colorado Humanities’ Writers in the Schools Program since 2012. Her foremost focus is education and working with at-risk-youth. She teaches cultural diversity in her classrooms and believes in the power of education to change lives. Her murder mystery, The Colorado Sisters and the Atlanta Butcher, percolates daily in her head. This will be her first novel. 

When she was nineteen, Barbara Ford encountered a poem that jumped off the page and dropped her to her knees. It was the elegy ‘for jane’ by Charles Bukowski. She never forgot the experience of discovering that poetry could have breath and life. Some years later, the death of her beloved longtime correspondent CoCo drove Barbara into the arms of poetry for good. She has been reading and writing it ever since. Her book, Once Famil- iar, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. 

Peggy Godfrey has been ranching in the high desert next to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado for decades. In this country "cowboy" is a verb. Since 1991 she has been performing for a wide variety of audiences. Composting disasters into poems and stories is her version of value-added agriculture.

Art Goodtimes, has been a community builder for a long time, not only as a former County Commissioner for San Miguel County but as a poet and writer. Art serves as the Master of Ceremonies and poet laureate of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. Addi- tionally, Art is the Founder and Director of Talking Gourds. In 2010, he was named the first Western Slope Poet Laureate at the first annual Karen Chamberlain Poetry Fes- tival in Carbondale. Art’s multitude of literary accomplishments also includes longtime journalist and editor for Telluride Watch and Cortez’s Four Corners Free Press, as well as poetry editor of several publications, including Fungi magazine, Mountain Gazette, Wild Earth, and more. 

.Poet, artist, teacher, gardener and Bonpa Rachel Kellum lives at the foot of the San- gre de Cristo mountains with her partner and children. A Pushcart Prize nominee and NFSPS award winning poet, her poetry has been featured in several online journals and print collections. Kellum earned a BFA in Art from Millikin University and an MA in English from Colorado State University. She leads writing workshops, performs her poetry around Colorado and blogs at Her first book, ah, published by Liquid Light Press, was released in 2012. 

Anne MacNaughton is a poet, author and artist based in Northern New Mexico. Co-Founder of S.O.M.O.S. and director of the long-running Taos Poetry Circus, she teaches writing and coaches recitation and performance around the Southwest. Her easygoing voice has been described as reminiscent of Mary Oliver’s. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including The Notebook, Minerva Rising, The Best American Poetry, The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, Thus Spake the Corpse, and In Company: An Anthology of New Mexico Poets After 1960. Her essays on poetry are included in Spoken Word Revolution and Poetry Flash. Editor of The Nineties: The Best Poetry and Photos of the Taos Poetry Circus, 1990-1999 and Wordworks, she is also a recipient of the New Mexico Literary Association’s Gratitude Award.

Juan J. Morales is the author of three poetry collections, including The Siren World and The Handyman’s Guide to End Times (forthcoming UNM Press, 2018). His po- etry has appeared in Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pank, Pleiades,, Zone 3, and others. He is also a CantoMundo Fellow, Editor/Publisher of Pilgrimage Press, and Department Chair of English & Foreign Languages at CSU-Pueblo. 

Eutimia Cruz Montoya, also known as La Kwaxiru, is an artist, healer, intellect, activist and educator from Denver, Colorado. She is the daughter of Apache, Arapahoe, Comanche, Dine, Picuris, Tarahumara, Mexica, Spanish, Moor, French and German, both pre and post colonial mixing; she is a Mestiza woman. She believes in the healing power of all artistry and uses her clinical experience as a holistic healthcare practitioner to inspire her offerings as an artist. Her personal healing journey is inspired by her soul’s need to integrate all aspects of her lineage(s) for full love and acceptance of her incarna- tion in this lifetime. She offers her medicine in dance, poetry and song to help heal herself and the world. May all beings be without suffering. May we all follow our highest and truest divine calling. May we continue to heal, together. Ometeotl! 

Uche Ogbuji, more properly Úchèńnà Ogbújí, was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived in Egypt, England and elsewhere before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer en- gineer and entrepreneur by trade, his poetry chapbook, Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press) is a Colorado Book Award Winner, and a Westword Award Winner (“Best Environmen- tal Poetry”). His poems, published worldwide, fuse Igbo culture, European classicism, American Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop. He co-hosts the Poetry Voice podcast, featured in the Best New African Poets anthology. On twitter as @uogbuji. 

Danny Rosen founded and runs the Lithic Press. His second chapbook, Ghosts of Giant Kudu, was published in May 2013 by Kattywompus Press. His poems have appeared most recently in Pilgrimage, San Pedro River Review, Comstock Review, Fruita Pulp, Malpais Reveiw and elsewhere. He lives among dogs in the desert of western Colorado. 

David J. Rothman serves as Director of Western Colorado University’s Graduate Pro- gram in Creative Writing, where he also directs the poetry concentration and the annual conference Writing the Rockies, along with editing Western’s national journal of poetry and criticism, THINK. His most recent book is Belle Turnbull: On the Life & Work of an American Master (Pleiades, 2017). His most recent volumes of poetry, both from 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (En- tasis Press). A book of essays about mountains and mountain towns, Living the Life (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado. 

Jackie St. Joan, is a poetry editor, a former teacher, secretary, taxi driver, welfare mom, lawyer, judge, law professor, child advocate, and community activist. She has a Masters in creative writing and has won poetry prizes from the Denver Press Club, Columbine Poets, The Colorado Lawyer, CLEA, Colorado Council on the Arts, University of Colo- rado, and Ziggie’s Blues Club. Her books include What Remains: poems (Turkey Buz- zard, 2016), Re-stitching the Sky: a poem book, the novel, My Sisters Made of Light and an anthology, Beyond Portia: Women, Law, and Literature (Northeastern UP). 

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer was Colorado’s Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015- 17). She also served two terms as San Miguel County’s first poet laureate (2006-2010). She has authored and edited thirteen books, including, Even Now: Poems & Drawings; Holding Three Things at Once, finalist for the Colorado Book Award, If You Listen, win- ner of the Colorado Independent Press Assoc. poetry award. She has appeared in many anthologies including An Elevated View: Colorado Writers on Writing, Poems of Awak- ening, and Red Thread, Gold Thread: The Poet’s Voice. Her work has been heard on A Prairie Home Companion, and has appeared in O Magazine, on back alley fences, on rocks she leaves around town, and in dozens of literary journals including Rattle, Clover and Spectrum. 

Wendy Videlock is the author of the chapbook What’s That Supposed to Mean(2010) and the full-length collections Slingshots and Love Plums (2016), The Dark Gnu and Other Poems (2013) and Nevertheless (2011). Known for poems that evoke myth, fairy tale, and the natural world, Wendy has also received praise for her deft command of me- ter. In an interview with the Colorado Poets Center, Videlock noted that, for her, “the iamb is really just another of the many natural pulsings of the earth.” A regular contributor to Poetry, Videlock lives with her husband and children in western Colorado.