Aspen Poets’ Society celebrates 10 years with Logan Phillips performance |

Aspen Poets’ Society celebrates 10 years with Logan Phillips performance

Logan Phillips with students during an Aspen Words poets-in-schools residency. The poet will be featured Friday night at the Aspen Poets' Society's 10th anniversary celebration.
Aspen Times file |

If You Go …

What: Aspen Poets’ Society 10th Anniversary Celebration, with Logan Phillips

Where: Explore Booksellers

When: Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

How much: $10 suggested donation ($20 includes Aspen Poets’ Society coffee mug)

Reservations: 970-379-2136

The Aspen Poets’ Society is celebrating a decade of verse in the valley with a bilingual performance by local favorite Logan Phillips.

The nonprofit was founded by Lisa Max Zimet and Kim Nuzzo in 2006 with open mic events featuring local poets at the Zele coffee shop. It may have started as a simple marketing ploy for a coffee shop, but it ended up helping to spark something of a valleywide poetry movement.

The Poets’ Society monthly readings (now hosted at Victoria’s Espresso & Wine Bar) have become a cornerstone of the local arts scene over the past decade — providing a forum for diverse voices from the valley and hosting regional poets. A 2014 anthology of poems from those readings, titled “A Democracy of Poets,” was nominated for a Colorado Book Award.

In addition to Poets’ Society events, poetry has gotten a boost over the past five years through Aspen Words’ poets-in-schools program, which has brought the great young Tucson, Arizona-based poet Phillips and others to town annually for two weeks of workshops in local schools. Phillips and his fellow rhymers — Myrlin Hepworth and Mercedez Holtry — have inspired students who have in turn become regulars at Poets’ Society readings and two years ago formed the slam poetry group First Word. Phillips and company also have brought the valley together for student slams at the Wheeler Opera House and the Third Street Center.

“My job as a poet is not just to create verse, but it’s also to create more room for verse in the world around us,” Phillips told the Aspen Times in February during his most recent stint in Roaring Fork Valley schools.

Phillips, who also performs as DJ Dirtyverbs, is returning to Aspen this weekend to celebrate the Poets’ Society’s 10th anniversary. At Friday evening’s celebration at Explore Booksellers, he’ll perform works from his most recent book, “Sonoran Strange,” a poem cycle about the Arizona-Sonoran borderlands.

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