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The poetry community in Denver and the surrounding communities is still quite vibrant with a lot of impressive poets and published authors. There are some very big names in literary history who called Colorado home, including Allen Ginsberg (when he founded Naropa University in Boulder,) Neal Cassady, Eugene Field and Ken Kesey, just to name a few. Today, there are still many brilliant literary minds that are hard at work creating new contributions to poetry. If you are a fan of poetry or of literature of any kind, then these are some names you will want to know. You can get most of their work at your local bookstore, or from their websites, as listed below. Here are just a few of the best poets in Colorado.
Colorado Poet Laureate
The position of Poet Laureate of Colorado was established in 1919, the first was Alice Polk Hill. It is a position that is appointed by the governor from recommendations by the Colorado Center for the Book, the Colorado Arts Council and the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities. It is a four-year term and David Mason, an accomplished poet and the co-director of the creative writing program at Colorado College, currently holds the title. The position is designed to be an advocate for the literacy and poetry communities in Denver, including a lot of outreach to schools and libraries.
As an internationally acclaimed poet, Anne Waldman is a valued member of the Colorado poetry scene. She first garnered recognition as a prominent figure in the Beat Poetry movement. She founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University with her friend Allen Ginsberg. She is the author of more than 40 books, including “Fast Speaking Woman” and “In the Room of Never Grieve.” Anne has also received numerous awards for her work including the National Literary Anthology Award and the Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry. She divides her time between New York and Boulder.
Related: Top Poetry Events in Colorado
Another well-known and highly regarded poet who currently resides in Colorado is Pattiann Rogers. She is the author of several books of poetry including her most recent collection “Holy Heathen Rhapsody” as well as “Wayfare,” “Generations” and “Song of the World Becoming.” In addition to all of her impressive poetry, she has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lannan Poetry Fellowship. For several years, Pattiann was a visiting writer at the University of Texas, The University of Arkansas and the University of Montana, however she is currently living in Colorado with her husband.
Lorna Dee Cervantes
As an award-winning Chicana, Native American and feminist poet, Lorna Dee Cervantes is considered one of the major Chicana poets of this century. She served as an associate professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she published several collections of poetry including “From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger” and “Emplumada” which was honored with an American Book Award. Cervantes can be seen often throughout the literary community giving readings, workshops and lectures in Colorado and throughout the United States making her a valued member of the poetry scene in Colorado.
Laurel Jean Becker
As the President of the Poetry Society of Colorado, Laurel Jean Becker is certainly another name to know in the Colorado poetry scene. She has been the recipient of several honors and awards including the National Writer’s Association (first place in Colorado and fourth place nationally), the storyteller People’s Choice Award and the Poetry Society of Colorado Sweepstakes Award. She has several published works including “In the Heart of a Quiet Garden,” “Believing the Impossible” and she contributed to the anthology “Anything Prose… and Poetry, Too.”
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.