News Poetry: “Belle Turnbull: Colorado’s Unsung Master”
Long-versed as we’ve been, deep-footed
in pioneer doggerel, blind poet fancies
& sing-song sentimentalities — those
Victorian staples of mining camp news-
papers in post-statehood Colorado – it
came as a shock, full-wattage & fresh
from the ore-dredge metrics of gold-rush
Breckenridge: the poems of Belle Turnbull
Came to us via the hands of scholars
this sybil of the last century, her arms
full of pasque flowers, precisely chosen
but left at ease for us to free in the lapse &
clangor of our mountains’ passionate secrets
Despite national notice and publication in her lifetime (1881-1970), Breckenridge poet Belle Turnbull‘s legacy languished in obscurity for decades. Recently, Dr. David J. Rothman of Western State Colorado University has now co-edited a book of Turnbull‘s selected poems, plus essays about her by current Colorado poets and critics, “Belle Turnbull and the Legacy of Colorado Poetry.” Her work was the subject of a symposium this past fall at the Center for the American West in Boulder.
Photo reprinted with permission from the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance.
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