Finding One Of Colorado’s Lost Literary Treasures: The Poetry Of Belle Turnbull

“Mountains cast spells on me … ” Those words begin a poem by the late Belle Turnbull. Her work focused on Colorado, especially the mountains and mining. She and her partner lived as an out lesbian couple in Breckenridge during the 1940s, long before it became a ski town.

Despite being well known during her time, Turnbull’s work went out of print. Now it’s collected in a new book, “Belle Turnbull,” co-edited by David Rothman, who is director of the graduate program in creative writing at Western State Colorado University, and CPR poet-in-residence.

Rothman spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis. Listen to their conversation and read three of Turnbull’s poems at

Belle Turnbull graduation pic.jpg

Colorado poet Belle Turnbull in her Vassar College “senior frock” in 1903.
(Courtesy of The Belle Turnbull Papers, WH 414 Western History, The Denver Public Library)


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