Burt the bard

Burt the bard

Regular readers of this fine publication no doubt are familiar with the works of Burt Baldwin, the unofficial Telegraph poet laureate. Since the early days, Baldwin’s poetry, essays and short stories have been a recurring feature in the paper.

A graduate of Rutger’s University, Baldwin moved to the Four Corners area more than 45 years ago. Although he has held various jobs in that time, he spent the bulk of it as an educator, teaching at Fort Lewis College, Pueblo Community College and the Ignacio School District, where he taught for 34 years. In that time, he taught every grade level and a variety of subjects, from science and history, to language arts. He has been awarded the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education and the Southern Ute Tribal Award for Outstanding Service, to name a few.

Now retired, Baldwin lives the country life outside Bayfield with wife, Laural (reportedly a mean pickleball player.) He recently compiled his life works into a book, appropriately titled “Selected Poems: 1973-2023,” which he will be reading from next  Fri., May 17, at 6 p.m. at Create Art and Tea, 1015 Main Ave. (And maybe, if you’re lucky, he’ll tell you some stories about his old friend, Ed Abbey.)

In the meantime, here is but a small sample of Baldwin’s work.

“The Shirt”

Old men need old friends.

“The Shirt” was bought thirty 

some years ago

at the Humane Society Thrift Store.

A simple, long sleeved  

gray and blue cotton-plaid Haggar,

now faded and thread bare; 

worn while gardening 

or during

oil changes.  

It is often hidden deep in the closet

away from who might edit it. 

It silently

awaits its next adventure.

Old men protect 

and rely on old friends!

At this age, mutualism is always a necessity.

– Burt Baldwin

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