These are the ones that have pushed through. Some are pretty. Some are food. Some are noxious. Some are medicine. You choose.
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Rachel Kellum left the flatlands of central Illinois in 1993 to head for her grandma’s Colorado mountains. Ironically, she now lives on Colorado’s eastern plains where clouds have become her mountains, and mountains have become her clouds.
Kellum’s passion is to inspire people of all ages to live artfully and mindfully. An instructor of the visual and language arts at Morgan Community College, she is also an active member of MCC’s Center for Arts and Community Enrichment (CACE). She directs the CACE Gallery of Fine Art, hosts Open Mic Poetry Nights, and leads MCC’s Creative Writing Club and poetry-writing workshops for writers’ groups and young students. In late 2013 she started Tumbleweed Poets, a local chapter of Colorado’s state poetry society, Columbine Poets, affiliated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.
Kellum holds a BFA in painting and drawing from Millikin University and studied British and Irish literature, art history and painting for a year in London, England, at the Institute of European Studies, The Slade School of Fine Art and The Courtauld Institute of Art History. After delivering three cool people into the world and homeschooling them and herself for seven years, she completed her MA in English education from Colorado State University. Her thesis, Composing Birth, explores an emerging genre of women’s creative non-fiction: homegrown birth narratives that challenge the technocratic storylines of modern obstetrics. To this end, she offers her own homebirth stories that are found online and in the book, Journey into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth.
Fascinated by humanity’s relationship to mystery, Kellum’s education has also included a personal study of many world spiritual traditions with a focus on meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. She is grateful to have studied with The Venerable Khandro Rinpoche, a celebrated teacher and nun, and several Bön Buddhist masters: Geshe Tenzin Yangton, Geshe Lhundup Chapur, Geshe Yungdrung Gyaltsen, whom she currently teaches English; and, for the past eight years, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, her root teacher. To help others reap the benefits of meditation practice, Kellum has facilitated non-sectarian meditation workshops for faculty and staff at MCC.
An occasional actor/performer, Kellum played Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire and has performed original work in The Vagina Monologues and The Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. Most recently she has performed in a number of venues: Ziggies Poetry Festival in Denver, Talking Gourds in Telluride, the Aspen Poets’ Society Fundraiser, Hearthfire Books in Evergreen and also at Westside Books in Denver in a poetry duo with Art Goodtimes, Western Slope Poet Laureate.
Primarily a poet, her work is featured in her first book, ah, published by Liquid Light Press, as well as the international poetry collection, Lush, by Rufous Press. In a couple clicks, you can find more work in various online venues. Her poem, “because iphones are poems, and i held yours,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2008.
Though she’s thrilled her poems are beginning new lives on paper these days, blogging is still her favorite medium, a place where poems can pop up outside the plots, in between the rows, along the road.