Responding to the trials and traumas


Gunnison Valley Journal seeks poetry, prose and art

  • George Sibley
    George Sibley

The Gunnison Valley Journal has been an irregular publication in the Upper Gunnison valley for a quarter-century, a new edition coming out whenever a handful of local people decide it might be time to take the valley’s pulse again, in the form of original poetry, prose and images by and for the local people.

The year just past seems like such a time. There is no question that 2020 was a difficult year, here as everywhere. Most of us were glad to see it finish. But we woke into 2021 with the realization that nearly everything that made 2020 a difficult year is still with us — a truly nasty virus still running our lives to a great extent; an economy in a very fragile state locally and nationally; the climate changes we’ve tried to downplay or just ignore suddenly manifesting themselves in an unignorable dryness and uncontrollable fires; the chronic low-grade infections of systemic racism and inequity breaking into their own social “pandemics;” a national government suddenly in vigorous conflict over whether to repair our imperfect democracy or trade it in on an autocratic, probably fascistic regime.

There are signs of hope this year — vaccines that may give some control over the pandemic, a fragile but positive national government willing to confront our challenges instead of denying them. If there is a difference between 2020 and 2021, it lies in this year’s realization that 2020 was — to paraphrase an old hippie poster — just the first year of the rest of our lives, or at least the first year of our foreseeable future; events conspired to force us to confront challenges we can no longer ignore or deny. Our world has become a test of our creativity and resilience moving

The eleventh Gunnison Valley Journal: 2020 hopes to collect the stories of how people here have responded to the trials and traumas of 2020: how we have coped, what resources we have found that helped. If you are a COVID survivor, what was your experience and what got you through it? What keeps you going in spite of the constant bad news from the larger world? How do you see climate change in your mind, and how do you imagine dealing with it personally? Are there actions you’d like to see the whole community pursue for any of the large issues we face? How do we transcend current levels of cultural and economic “fear and loathing” that dominate our political discourse?

Materials for the Journal will be collected through March 19. Submissions can be in the form of poetry, short essays and stories (fiction or nonfiction), interviews, and photography and drawings or sketches that will reproduce well in black and white.

Submissions should be in electronic format if possible, and sent to Megan West at the Gunnison Arts Center (megan@, Brooke MacMillan at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts (brooke@, or George Sibley 970.641.4340, george@