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Department of Languages, Literature and Mass Communication will host poetry reading and guest lecture

Storytelling is perhaps the oldest form of creative expression. It is one of the vital foundations of society, culture and the human imagination. The Poets & Writers of CMU Reading Series brings storytellers — poets, essayists and writers of fiction — to the Grand Valley community. On Wednesday, September 18, the CMU Department of Languages, Literature and Mass Communication will host one of the region’s great story tellers as an example of the university's liberal arts mission in action. 

Art Goodtimes is a legend in western Colorado. He served for decades as the only Green Party elected official in the state. Goodtimes never apologized for his politics that were, by his own admission, outside the local mainstream. But he didn’t need to apologize. Goodtimes was then, and remains today, a model of civility, learnedness and thoughtfulness. He emulates depth of character articulated through the spoken and written word. Beyond his speaking and writing, Goodtimes’ ideas are followed by action. As a result, he has always been revered by people of all political and professional dispositions. 

The political career of Goodtimes is well known. However, his visit to CMU will focus on his poetry, teaching mythology and working with students. 

“Art Goodtimes has been a major force in poetry and journalism on the Western Slope for more than three decades,” said CMU Professor of English John Nizalowski, PhD. “A member of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance, Goodtimes brought this movement’s passion to his adopted San Juan Mountain home. His poetry readings are legendary, and he has been a vital mentor to many of the region’s poets and writers.”

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Colorado Central Magazine captures the

essence of Goodtimes

Nizalowski also noted that, “in Japan, they designate people who are major figures of cultural importance called ‘national living treasures.’ If we did that in Colorado, Art Goodtimes would be one of the Centennial State’s living treasures.” 

Among the achievements of Goodtimes are his literary works and career as a poet. On Wednesday, September 18, Goodtimes will teach a mythology class with Nizalowski and will conduct a public poetry reading and presentation. Goodtimes will also join CMU President Tim Foster on CMU-TV for an interview and discussion. 

Goodtimes spends much of his time writing. He is a widely published poet and is a member of the San Francisco poetry renaissance. Goodtimes was a long-time member of the bioregionalist movement and San Francisco's Planet Drum Foundation, a student of the late deep ecology author Dolores LaChapelle of Silverton, and worked extensively in collaboration with the Public Lands Partnership of Delta/Montrose and the Quivira Coalition of Santa Fe.

Resulting from a colorful tenure as a five-term San Miguel county commissioner, Goodtimes received numerous awards for his political activism including from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Weed Managers Association and Club 20. Goodtimes served on a litany of civic boards and commissions not only as a local official but also serving Colorado at the national and state levels. He co-founded the Sheep Mountain Alliance, Telluride’s local environmental group. 

Goodtimes’ weekly column “Up Bear Creek” can be read in the online MontroseMirror.com, while his monthly op-ed column “Looking South from Lone Cone” is published in the Cortez-based Four Corners Free Press. 

Goodtimes’ education includes training as a Roman Catholic priest for seven years. Today he continues to conduct marriage ceremonies as a Universal Life minister. A former poetry editor for Earth First! Journal, Wild Earth and the Mountain Gazette, he currently co-directs the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds poetry project, is poetry editor for Fungi magazine and co-hosts the Sage Green Journal online literary anthology. 

Art was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts poetry fellowship in 1989, has been poet-in-residence of the Telluride Mushroom Festival for 39 years and was named Western Slope Poet Laureate from 2011-13. 

“I am truly looking forward to our discussion about western Colorado and the career of Commissioner Goodtimes,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “Universities are supposed to engage students with people who hold and express a wide range of beliefs and ideas. Art Goodtimes has always enriched our regional community and I’m pleased to have him on campus.” 

Community members interested in attending the reading should contact the CMU Department of Languages, Literature, and Mass Communications at akimmel@coloradomesa.edu

Contributions to the Poets and Writers of CMU initiative can be made through the CMU Foundation. 

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Written by David Ludlam