Letter: Poetry is alive and well
Dear Tim Willoughby,
I read with interest your article in The Aspen Times regarding Aspen and its literary (i.e., poetry) history (“A literary town,” Commentary, Aug. 14). In actuality, there are many poetry-related events being sponsored in Aspen. In 2006, Kim Nuzzo and I co-founded the Aspen Poets’ Society, which was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2009. Our mission is to foster and promote the writing of poetry and to provide a consistent venue for the spoken word to be heard. For the past 10 years, we have hosted Live Poetry Night the last Sunday of every month and currently hold forth at Victoria’s Cafe. We open each session with live music featuring local musicians who write their own songs followed by an open mic for poets of all ages. Each evening is capped with a reading by a guest poet who, typically, is a well-established, published poet. Some of our featured poets are from the Roaring Fork Valley, while others travel to Aspen from in or out of state. Featured poets have included poet laureates from Colorado and Wyoming in addition to regional poet laureates, poetry educators and prolific writers.
For the past three years, the Aspen Poets’ Society has hosted the Spotlight on Student Poets as part of our April Live Poetry Night in celebration of National Poetry Month.
Though Live Poetry Night is our main focus, the Aspen Poets’ Society has been involved in several other projects throughout the years and collaborates with other community organizations, all on a voluntary basis. In addition, we published our first anthology, “A Democracy of Poets of the Roaring Fork Valley and Beyond in 2014” (a finalist for a Colorado Book Award) and the following year published “Journey Home: Poems and Stories of Catherine Garland.” Garland was a longtime Aspen local, a wonderful poet and a frequent participant at Live Poetry Night.
Since 2009, the Aspen Poets’ Society has worked with the Aspen Daily News on a weekly basis. We provide poems for its “Poets Corner” feature that appears every Friday in the newspaper’s Time Out section. We have had nearly 350 poems written by Live Poetry Night open-mic participants published in Poets Corner.
Currently we host a poetry reading every other month at Explore Booksellers as part of its Local Writers Read program and look forward to a collaboration with the Aspen Art Museum this coming fall. We also are involved in an ongoing poetry project with inmates at the Pitkin County Jail.
The Aspen Poets’ Society has clearly filled a void in the local poetry scene since 2006 and has been publicly credited with influencing a proliferation of public poetry events throughout the valley. At present, we are seeking sponsors for our 10th-anniversary celebration, which will feature performance poet and DJ Logan Phillips, a well-known poet who has worked with over 3,000 students in the valley.
Indeed, poetry is alive and well in Aspen, and we hope you will join us in this local poetry renaissance.
Lisa Max Zimet
Co-founder, secretary and treasurer, Aspen Poets’ Society
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