La Junta Writers and Artists
Description: Three Phantasmagoria and The Secret Bird Digital Donnie Hollingsworth
La Junta Writers and Artists
Last year I was able to form a creative group with the help of Total Health. For a town this size, there are tons of helpful people, from the local librarians to the Barista. Our group was based on the idea of trying to corral all the creative people into one place, no matter the medium.
In October I was in NY speaking to Phong, the head of Brooklyn Rail. Creative workshops were on every level and everyone was generous with their time. I left with the certitude that art is important.
I knew that I had to carry this feeling, the fact and reality that art is important back to La Junta. Let me say that again: art is Important.
Poetry is the art of meaning what you say
There’s an air of the mysticism--a mystique--and sharing this mystique with your neighbors through spoken word to an audience of your peers helps to form a narrative for ourselves...for the town. Stories are crucial. We’re shaped by our self-narratives, by our story of the world and our place in it.
All knowledge is storytelling.
At Total Health I met Rowena Portch, a local multi-award winning author, writer of the Spririan saga among other titles. She networked in La Junta until all the writers came to one place. Elizabeth, a playwright and director of over 20 plays, is also part of our group (there’s a large undercurrent of theatrical drama here). We met regularly at the library and Barista until the pandemic, but still continue through Zoom meetings and gazebo gatherings. We workshop, edit, talk about publishing (I’ve been publishing poems for 20 years), and work with prompts.
For example, this poem was written with a spring prompt in mind:
Nature's Mordant Que
(to kamikaze into desire
the honied nectar
hiding inside like animals
(I tear open heartily voiceless
past the lone bent Cottonwood and blasted rock
by the steady stare of the sun
mordant fingers pinches
off (the mesa before us: blood-dried brown and burnt umber all around us
by edges of wind
off into worlds of mineral
and air stroking into the next
seamless: ocean drinking into ocean (noticing how a rattlesnake
uses the shadow of a horse's hoof print for an entrance)
I’m in the act
of arching (the windy field
walks up to the edge of me)
in the exhaust
disappearing like a tongue into wine
I have a blueish soul
like a bed of water (I long to become a vision of the flood
the sound of a red-winged black bird brimming from
thorn and nettle-sided first before flowering the pinprick: the flash of birth
under the horizon ready to rush the contour of a thigh
before me flows the solid breath of time
and the sides curve the shape of a shoulder collapses into generation
the sunlight is a body laying on top of me a gilded nerve recreates my entire life
I am a river holding the glare of the sun like a wildfire that becomes whatever it touches
carried in its pulse
the steady stare of the sun a death stare
a thousand yard stare
like a jealous God
I watch bright red ants spill out of a hole in the ground
like a jackal
I'll run towards the wildfire
there's something about the pale blue smoke--like a hand opening and closing
fire sliding around in its palm a firefly held in a fist
the windy sky tearing around the borders that sets the struggle
that feels like home
Because of my involvement with the group, with its support and diversity, I've become a better writer. Anyone who wants to broaden their creative horizons are welcome. If you're an artist, and you think you're alone in La Junta (or the surrounding area), you're not.