Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #2

Katherine West and the Green Fuse Community

Last issue, E-Words featured an interview with M. D. Friedman, mentioning the resources of the Poets Cooperative in the Lafayette to Love land area. Other communities or groups exist in Colorado and we’ll have a story about the Columbine Poets and the Poetry West community in the next issue. This issue features Green Fuse Community Press (

Green Fuse, under the impetus of Katherine West—check her listing on the CPC site for credentials—publishes an anthology (IMPROV) and chapbooks by regional writers, as well as hosting events and offering poetry workshops. According to its website mission statement, it leans toward
“rhythmic poetry that concerns itself with the interplay between the conscious and the unconscious, the real and the “un” real, matter and spirit.” There are already many outlets for “narrative, left-brain, prose-poetry,” the statement continues.  They “are interested in doorways.”

Greenfuse began in 2005 by publishing Maggie Rowlett’s chapbook, Sing the Returning. “I was frustrated,” West says, “to see so much talent kept out of the narrow world of publishing and reading. I wanted to open it up and my husband, the poet and musician Jeff Finer, suggested I start my own press so I could provide local poets with an opportunity to share their work.”

The association—now called Green Fuse Poetic Arts, applying for non-profit status—contains the Green Fuse Community Press, Events, and Poetry Workshops. West says the goals are similar to what M. D. Friedman enunciated in the last E-Words: “to bring poetry, poets, and poetry lovers together in a friendly, accessible, affordable, egalitarian, even healing, environment.” The concept of “community poetry” emphasizes community enrichment and mutual support on the part of the writers involved.

I asked how many poets comprised the ‘community’ and she said it was hard to say. “It’s a very loose organization.” Although some names in the anthologies repeat, there are always new ones, she pointed out. Moreover, as new poets become contributors they take the activity to their own
areas, as Beryle Williams did in Estes Park, or another at the Denver Women’s Press Club.

West thinks that one of the most exciting activities Greenfuse is involved in right now is the theatrical poetry troupe—The Disobedient Poets—combining music and poetry and theater to make poetry more available without turning it into prose. They are performing now in Loveland, but would like to expand. Green Fuse also does readings combined with art and ensemble music.

Is Green Fuse ‘successful’? If growth of interest is an indicator, then yes, says West. “All of us who are regularly involved with readings and workshops and publications are impressed by the quality (versus quantity) of the response.”

“Poetry needs community in order to survive,” Katherine West concluded. “Many of us who love poetry have forgotten this. Green Fuse has not.”