Aspen poetry alive and well |

Aspen poetry alive and well

Lisa Zimet is organizing an Aspen Poet's Society website in conjunction with next month's return of poetry slam night at Zele coffeehouse in Aspen. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN ” There’s nothing dead about the poet’s society in Aspen.

Rather, the fledgling Aspen Poet’s Society is about to go live, at ” an electronic format where poets near and far will have a venue to share their stuff.

Spawned by last winter’s successful string of poetry slam nights at Aspen’s Zele coffeehouse ” a monthly event that will resume in June ” Lisa Zimet is organizing the website and is currently collecting original verse for its debut.

As it turns out, Aspen boasts a strong contingent of poetry lovers ” those who write it, those who read it and those who will turn out to hear poets read their works aloud.

Zimet, business manager for the coffee shop, admits she’s no writer of poetry, but she has become an enthusiastic supporter of the art form in Aspen.

It began when the Hudson Reed Ensemble was seeking a venue for a few of its theater company members to portray the “beat poets” last year. Zele provided a forum for the performances.

“The turnout was so phenomenal. This place was standing-room only,” Zimet said.

She was struck by an unmet need in a resort town steeped in culture ” a gathering place for poetry. Starting in late October, Zele began hosting modified slam poetry events ” competitions at which poets read their original works, along with an open mic session and Jam Before the Slam, when local musicians step up to perform.

Held the last Sunday of each month through March, the gatherings were a hit, drawing locals and guests.

“I see them as a local offering, but open to an international audience and participants,” Zimet said.

But Zimet concluded the monthly events weren’t enough to serve the poetic community, so she’s organizing the website, where registered participants can post their poetry and receive feedback. “Poetry in e-motion,” will be the site’s motto ” a nod to its electronic format. One of its features will be a sidewalk poem ” the computer-age version of a line or two of verse scrawled on a sidewalk, to which other writers add a line until a collaborative poem takes form.

Zimet hopes to create a similar work in progress at Zele, allowing coffee shop patrons to help compose a poem.

“There are a lot of possibilities for a poetry website,” she said.

Zimet hopes to unveil the poet’s society site by June 24 ” date of the first summertime poetry slam at Zele.

To submit a poem, go to

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