Front Range: Rocky Mountain Threshold

Front Range: Rocky Mountain Threshold

When I first rolled in to Boulder, CO last June to start my MFA at Naropa University, I stuck my head out the car window, inhaled an air that did NOT smell like mussel shells and marsh bottoms, and thought: Holy goodness those are some big mountains!  Yes, I thought the Flat Irons were the “Rockies.”  I had no idea what was behind these rolling foothills.  I am from sea level; I am from the sea—and if I were in water and looking up, they’d be some pretty big waves.  After a camping trip and hike (NOT to the keyhole) at Longs Peak, I began to see and feel the difference.  How is vertical ascension—altitude—a threshold of contour?

In the spirit of Naropa-ness, I will take this opportunity to be transparent.  I also have no idea how to “blog.”  Said it.  It’s out there: in the foothills of blogging and calling it Rocky Mountain High—in the Great Lakes and calling it ocean (playful poke to my new Mid-West friends 😉 ).  A deeply grateful thanks for Heather Goodrich and Katie Ingegneri for setting up the blog space and Jess Hagemann for being our first Bombay Gin blogger of Fall 2011.  Our editorial board will take turns posting (a two week rotation); so, hang in there readers!

The theme for issue 38.1 is Threshold.  As previously noted by Jess, threshold is and is not the following:  the thing you cross into/over, so as to discover what’s beyond/beneath/hiding in the liminal—the space of trans–the site of exchange–the wall, the ceiling, the carrying capacity of breath–the significance of space–the between place.  Threshold is also the doorway, the window sill, the mouth, Hwy 119: how does printing to the page make the idea of threshold in all its elusiveness a very real architecture?

The 4X4 Reading Series hosted by Naropa University, Denver University, Colorado University, and Colorado State University gathers the Front Range writers in academic programs and chooses four.  What are the thresholds that exist in a reading series?  How do sequencing and order and friction and placement start to create a threshold of-to-for?

On October 13th, the first reading in the series, Matt Wedlock (Naropa), Gabrielle Fuentes (CU), Derek Askey (CSU), and Meghan Dowling (DU) took the stage to read to us: 4th wall—another threshold—a scrim?  Poetry, essay, short story, and prose became our companions and in this collection a thread became evident—the use of water.  Wedlock’s water is salt; Fuentes’ water is ice; Askey’s water is glowing; Dowling’s water is the faucet: how is breaking water threshold—how is threshold conduit—how is bioregion liminal in the writer’s work?

The Beats crossed and recrossed the country from coast to coast and Denver/the Rockies served as the node for the infinite figure eight loops.  How is the heart of something—a country, a text, a person—entered?  I want to learn the passage to a place with no water, the high desert:  where does the flow come from, Continental Divide?  The space between two companions—threshold—not when, but how will we arrive?


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