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City of Durango names its first ever Poets Laureate

 Esther Belin is the city of Durango's Poet Laureate. She read her poetry at the Durango Public Library to a crowd of over 100.
Clark Adomaitis
/
KSUT/KSJD
Esther Belin is the city of Durango's Poet Laureate. She read her poetry at the Durango Public Library to a crowd of over 100.

In January, the city of Durango announced its first-ever poet laureates - a three-year grant-funded position to elevate two local poets' voices. Last week, Zoe Golden and Esther Belin read their poetry at the Durango Public Library to an audience of over 100 community members.

Zoe Golden is the city of Durango's Rising Poet Laureate and a junior at Durango High School. She read an original poem called "Home for the Guilty."

"This is a country where we acknowledge tragedy as a part of life, where we build soldiers out of dirt, give badges to Blue Coated murderers, give a voice to Blue Coated marauders stepping on soldiers out of dirt. This is a country in a tug of war with who gets to live in peace…"

Alongside Zoe Golden was the Durango Poet Laureate, Esther Belin, a Navajo woman and a professor at Fort Lewis College. She read a poem she wrote as a letter to another Navajo poet.

"My family and I were on our way to a powwow. I was driving our minivan in a snowstorm from Durango in Albuquerque… I was suspended. The snow-packed road widened. The wind blue powdery flakes across the road. I lost all sense of direction. I found myself staring into the deep whiteness, snow-blinded in articulates. So now I listen to the whiteness of the page. I listen for its breath. I tenderly move my fingers across the whiteness…"

 Zoe Golden is Durango's Rising Poet Laureate. She's a junior at Durango High School.
Clark Adomaitis
/
KSUT/KSJD
Zoe Golden is Durango's Rising Poet Laureate. She's a junior at Durango High School.

Belin and Golden said they're excited to show their community the power of poetry.

"... Bringing a new outlook and way for people to engage with each other and create community, but also in a way that connects people emotionally through the writing and the image of writing," said Belin.

"We're a rural area, and we don't really get to see a lot of the creative arts here because people are very outdoor-invested," said Golden.

Golden says one of her goals during her laureateship is to create a public mural that incorporates poetry.

"I really want to have a piece of art, somewhere in the community that incorporates words because I feel l everywhere I go, there's murals. I feel like we're really into the whole painting thing," said Golden.

The reading at the public library was a special moment for Tanya Kanning, Zoe Golden's mother. Kanning says her daughter has been writing poems since childhood.

"Most of her poetry I've never even heard or read before; she kind of keeps it to herself," said Kanning. "She's been leaning into poetry for a long time now. All throughout middle school, she's just a prolific writer, and she's got journals full of poems that she has written over the years."

The Poet Laureates will speak at upcoming events around the community, and they hope to lead workshops in the future.

Copyright 2024 KSJD. To see more, visit KSJD.

Clark Adomaitis