Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #7

Who are the Shavano Poets?

E-Words has been trying to let the poets of Colorado know what others are doing in their own communities. So far we’ve had stories on the Poets Coop in Loveland (Issue #1), the Green Fuse community in Northern Colorado (#2), the Columbine Poets in Colorado Springs (#4) and The Lighthouse Writers in Denver (#5).

Named for Mt. Shavano in the Collegiate Range, mostly in Chaffee County, “they are” says Lynda, secretary of the group, “a group of poets at all levels of their craft who meet once a month (downstairs in the Community Room at Bongo Billy’s in Salida, 1:10pm every first Thursday) to read their work aloud, discuss poetry, practice poetry by engaging in short writing exercises, share poetry-related ideas and information, and enjoy each others’ company”.

As part of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the chapter has twenty members who pay dues to the Shavano Poets’ Society, Columbine Poets, Inc., and the national organization.

President Jessica Saunders provides the group with a monthly assignment, many of which introduce the writers to different traditional forms, ranging from sonnets and sestinas to rime royal and limericks. The members may complete the assignment or write whatever type of poetry they prefer.

The majority of their members are from Chaffee Country, but they also have several from Lake County, along with the poets from Fairplay, Westcliffe, Aurora, and Trinidad.

“Our mission”, Lynda said, “is to practice poetry, hone our poetic skills and abilities, and spread the good news of poetry to the community.” In regard to the latter, they have sponsored several contests and recently initiated a poets-in-the-schools program bringing Shavano members into Salida schools as part of a poetry unit in English classes.

Some assignments involve writing poems suitable for submission in categories in the annual contest sponsored by the NFSPS, causing a national official to comment on her surprise at the number of Colorado entrants. According to Lynda, the Shavano Poets’ Society has been very successful in membership growth. “And members that work seriously and diligently on their poetry just continue to improve!”

“The Shavano Poets’ Society is a great group,” Lynda enthused. “We learn a lot, have a good time, and immerse ourselves in our passion, which is poetry? I know I look forward to each monthly meeting.”