My Story

Hello, my name is Valerie A. Szarek.  I live in Louisville, Colorado, and have owned and operated Breezy Mountain Leather since 1973, where I build handbags with stone-inlays. I call them "Healings to carry" as they are supportive and strong energetically and help keep people connected to your own strength and soul.  I also make custom folios, book covers, wallets, etc.

I am finding myself more pulled towards words and music as these sacred containers, finding I can reach more people in a healing way through these avenues.   Spirit has handed me this gift to share.   My poetry is an invitation to go on a journey with me.  It is accessible, clear, easy to follow and understand.  We are in this walk together.  

Ginger C: "You will never forget the first time you hear Valerie A. Szarek read one of her poems"

I've been a student at The Jack Kerouac School of Disenbodied Poetics at Naropa University for 13 years, and sign up for every poetry/literary festival and workshop I can find.  I love pushing edges so my work remains fresh and experimental.  I was the poet at The International Young People's Leadership Conference.  I've performed at the Karen Chamberlain poetry festival in Carbondale, Colorado, Ziggies, Denver Poetry Festival, Telluride Lit Fest, Aspen reading series, and the Mercury Cafe Podeo.  I was awarded the Blissfest/ Excellence in Cultural Arts POET OF THE YEAR Award in October, 2018.  

My poem "Letters to an Unknown God" won first place in 2016 in the National Poetry Federation Winner’s Circle contest.  (My prize $$ purchased this iPad I'm typing this on.)  My book "Signs of Life" won an EVVY award, was a finalist for the Colorado Author's League poetry book of the year, and received 5 stars from The Writer's Digest International Poetry contest.

Presence and an open heart are my most important values.  I honor all of you who choose to journey with me.  I take this honor seriously, and if you trust me and go with me, I promise you a safe return.   

"I love capturing God in my hands, weaving her into a poem, and reading it to you"

I am now offering writing workshops called: “Writing Into Sanity.”  They are guided journeys with your pens, community, a drum, and whatever theme has presented itself.  We write to locate ourselves within he seasons, important astronomical events, and sometimes world events.  We work with our ancestors,  metaphor, language, and guided imagery.  

I will also be offering some power-tool making workshops, such as walking staffs.  I will be performing and writing a lot of new work to support us in these challenging times.  

I just purchased a sound system to enhance the effects of my music with my flutes, drums, rattles.  

Please sign up for my mail list to be informed of my upcoming events.

  • This Winter’s Day
  • For Mary Oliver
  • A full quorum
  • of snow covers my backyard 
  • in the color it should be
  • in January
  • Reclaiming the brown
  • winter-dormant grass
  • that ekes a drone of 
  • longing into the back of my mind
  • I write this tribute poem
  • for Mary Oliver
  • on the day after her passing
  • and it seems 
  • it should be snowing, 
  • the sun bowing homage
  • while it reads her poems
  • Allowing her to be
  • the one to shine today
  • Mary, of course, 
  • would give the clouds
  • center stage
  • to slow us into
  • a deeper rhythm
  • for this one day,
  • this one wild and precious day
  • in this one wild
  • and precious life
  • She would take time
  • to count crows
  • and weave ibis wings
  • upon her tongue
  • Seeking prayers
  • in a blade of grass
  • beneath a broken bottle
  • in an abandoned city lot
  • her knees knowing the soil,
  • and the winds, her voice
  • and for so many of us,
  • her precious words
  • Wild and free
  • Valerie A Szarek
  • January 18, 2019