Between The Covers: “3 Poets, 3 Whiskies,” 10/12

The first—and perhaps last, who knows?—Women & Words & Whiskey Poetry Evening features award-winning poets Kierstin Bridger of Ridgway; Joni Wallace of Tucson; and Daiva Chesonis of Telluride, plus three regionally distilled whiskeys of their choosing to share for a tasting. Event takes place at Telluride’s Between the Covers Bookstore, 7 p.m.


Kierstin Bridger:

Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer who divides her time between Ridgway and Telluride. She is a winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio award, an Anne LaBastille Poetry Residency, and  short-listed for the Manchester Poetry Competition in the UK.

Kierstin is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems and Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series. She earned her MFA at Pacific University and is a writing instructor at both the Ah Haa School and Weehawken Creative Arts. Kiersten’s latest book is “Demimonde” (Lithic Press, 2016).


“My vice is vice—the turn-of-the-century, red-lit, mining town, sporting life to be precise. I heard voices that longed to tell their own story. So I listened hard and wrote down every word … and they never charged me a dime. I grew up in Colorado. I’m from a one- stoplight town where real estate agents and grocery store clerks dress up like saloon girls for parades. We still have burro pack races and all the old-timers know about the retired madam who haunted the peeling yellow Victorian at the end of Main. In ‘demimonde,’ I write persona poems and narrative accounts that concern the ladies of the night. It seems like a good way to uncover the deeper stories and to hear again the lyric patois of our western sirens.”

Joni Wallace:


Joni Wallace is the author of three books of poetry: “Kingdom Come Radio Show” (Barrow Street, 2016); “Blinking Ephemeral Valentine” (Four Way Books, 2011), winner of the Levis Prize (selected by Mary Jo Bang); and “Red Shift” (Kore Press, 2001), which garnered a fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Joni earned her MFA at the University of Montana, and a BA and JD from the University of New Mexico. Recipient of residencies at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and at Gullkistan Center for the Arts, Laugarvatn, Iceland, Wallace’s poetry has been featured on the website for the Poetry Society of America and appears in journals such as Boston Review, Conduit, Gulf Coast, Crazyhorse, West Branch, The Volta, Interrupture, Laurel Review, and Perihelion Review, and is anthologized in “Privacy Policy: The Poetry of Surveillance” (ed. Andrew Ridker). Her sound and video work has been featured on “TextSound” and “The Drunken Boat.”

Of “Kingdom Come Radio Show,” Joni says:

“Growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the Manhattan Project unfolded decades earlier, I was struck by the way both the science and its legacy of destruction, inhabit the pastoral. I wanted to address the history of the making of the atomic bomb as poetic interrogation and to create an unofficial document, in contrast to the official. Once I let the ghosts come in, sometimes polyphonic, sometimes contrapuntal, sometimes personal (my father, a child), sometimes historical (Oppenheimer, the Japanese poet Issui Yoshida), the project approached, for me, a kind of lyric graffiti that felt adequate. One of witness and memory and air, all gathered around a particular landscape.”

Daiva Chesonis;


Author of no books (but most definitely thinking about it) and 2nd place winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize way back when only 11 people submitted poems, Daiva is co-owner of Between the Covers Bookstore. Sharing her poetry is a recent endeavor.

In May, Daiva was a poet on the Talking Gourds Poetry Tour, hitting exotic locations on the Western Slope. In September, she presented an original poem for the Apple Core Project in Norwood CO. On October 12, she’ll serve as the warm-up act for the above-mentioned poetry pros. (As if the whiskey can’t do that all by itself.)

“A single word will trigger an entire blurt of a poem. I have to drop everything, or pull over, and get it down. And then I wait for opportunities to share it with willing listeners. Right now, as I shimmy into a style and voice, topics run the gamut; a fun place to be when trying on new clothes. In addition, it’s cheap therapy and performing is the ultimate high. And FYI: There’s a compact poetry culture in Telluride but through consistent regional events and workshops, it’s quickly upgrading to mid-size. My goal is to help, with other local poets and lovers of poetry, to get it to SUV status. Join us for the ride.”

Women, words, and whiskey … In addition to water, they’re all worth fightin’ for. Women, words, and whiskey … What could possibly go wrong?

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