Poet Beth Paulson at Ouray Bookshop Reading

“Open Bard Branches Out” – Telluride Daily Planet, Sept 25, 2019

“..Paulson has not only been busy programming Open Bard’s new season solo, she’s been extremely productive when it comes to her own work: She’s coauthored a new book, “Images of the Mountain West,” with her husband, Don Paulson, “that marries his photography with my poetry,” combining 48 images with a similar number of poems.

“About three-quarters of the poems are new, “and have never been published in any other book until now,” Paulson said. On Oct. 6 from 4-6 p.m., the Ouray Bookshop and the Ouray County Historical Society will host a reception for Beth and Don Paulson’s new joint publication, featuring food, drink and “probably,” she said, “a short reading, craft talk and PowerPoint photos” on display in the bookstore.

“The book is physically small, just 8-by-10 inches — “We call it a coffee table book for small tables,” Beth jokes — but its diminuitive size belies the huge amount of focus and creativity that went into it. “Don and I had been encouraged for years” by the Ouray Bookshop’s former owner, Robert Stoufer, to collaborate on a book, she said. Finally, “Last winter we just decided to try putting a selection of Don’s photos together.”

“That was the beginning.

“The idea was then for Paulson to write poems based on the images, a seemingly daunting assignment, even for a former writing professor who also taught local poets in monthly get-togethers at the Ridgway Public Library…

Read the full article here.

Photographer Don Paulson at Ouray Bookshop Event

Review of Images of the Mountain West by Kierstin Bridger of Open Bard.

This is a catalog of alpine joy, a lush album full of praise and awe for the rugged and the pristine. It is a photographic index of the “green hearted” love Beth and Don share for all the exquisite magnificence of the Mountain West.

Let there be no argument, these artists, these hikers, these explorers have formed a conversation, sometimes gentle, sometimes probing, queried by shutter and lens and answered by lyrical reverence.

Before turning the last few pages, you’ll stop. Here the book unlocks one of the most arresting pairings of image and poetry, “Chop Wood, Carry Water “and its adjoining winterscape. In a synergy of black strokes and lines against white canvas a quiet zen reveals itself. If the poet has become a “lean filigree of willows” her partner must surely be the alert buck just outside the frame, so precise are his photographs, so graceful are her words.

To hold this book in your hands is to become privy to the dialogue held within. You will be grateful for all the listening that preceded the printer’s hum; the whisper of woodlands, the sound water makes in the early morning, the precise “soft step in dry grass” made by a San Juan deer in velvet. Thank you to Beth and Don Paulson for your keen observation of light and color. Your rigorous witness was necessary to capture the ephemeral splendor of our mountain vistas, the inordinate beauty of the world we all long to preserve.

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