Local students | AspenTimes.com

Local students

A packed house enjoyed last year's Aspen Poets' Society student spotlight reading. This year's free “Spotlight on Student Poets” is Sunday at Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar.
Courtesy photo |

The Aspen Poets’ Society is celebrating National Poetry Month by showcasing some of the valley’s best and brightest young poets at its monthly reading.

The free “Spotlight on Student Poets” event, scheduled for Sunday at Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar, marks the third consecutive year that the local nonprofit has brought together Roaring Fork Valley students for a spring reading.

“From the get-go, our goal was to get children engaged in poetry,” said Lisa Max Zimet, co-founder of the Aspen Poets’ Society. “I think we’ve accomplished this with the student spotlight, and it’s been wonderful. I hope the momentum will continue this Sunday.”

With poets from kindergarten through 12th grade, the reading brings out a diverse crowd of talented, young locals with styles ranging from the traditional to the cutting edge, from formal sonnets to slam-style raps. John Hatanaka will be providing musical accompaniment, and parents, teachers and anyone interested in hearing what these youngsters have to say is welcome to come out.

The annual reading has coincided with a fertile period for young poets in the Roaring Fork Valley. Fostered by Aspen Words’ poets-in-schools program — founded in 2013 — and its spirited annual winter slams, poetry clubs have sprouted in valley schools and the youth poetry group First Word made a splash last year with a main stage performance at Carbondale Mountain Fair. Many young poets, encouraged by teaching poets like Logan Phillips, have become regulars at the Aspen Poets’ Society’s monthly readings at Victoria’s in the past few years, and a genuine creative youth movement has taken hold.

“Poetry is something people of all ages and walks of life can write and enjoy,” Zimet said. “And by hosting monthly open-mic nights, poets have an opportunity to share their words on a regular basis. … That’s what makes us unique among the valley’s poetry groups.”

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