Poets explore love, Denver style, at the Denver County Fair

The Denver County Fair, now in its fourth year, was conceived as a big, fat blue-ribbon love letter to everything that's cool about Denver, from local artists and a healthy geek culture to, yes, legalized pot. So it's only fair that this year's poetry contest has an I Heart Denver theme.

This year's entries -- all unpublished and judged by a panel of literary pros -- explored love in the Mile High City from just about every angle. Following are the judges' five final picks; hear all of them read live at noon Sunday, August 3, on the fair's Arts Pavilion Stage, where the top three poets will also be awarded with prizes and ribbons.

See also: Pot pavilion ready for lift-off at Denver County Fair

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Andrea Moore

Jumping for joy with the Uganda Project.
#67: Andrea Moore

As a creative, Andrea Moore can't be categorized: She works in words and action, embracing poetry, performance, photography, visual art and the less definable art of self-discovery -- not just as a form of expression, but as a way of helping others. Working with the Wayfaring Band, the organization she co-founded, Moore animates self-actualization among members of the special-needs community and other marginalized groups through experiential voyages; she also works with at-risk youth through programs like PlatteForum. What propels this proactive, people-friendly dynamo? Read her 100CC questionnaire below to learn more.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Gretchen Marie Schaefer

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Four Denver-area poetry and book events for July 7-13

J. Dylan Yates reads from The Belief in Angels this week in Boulder and Denver.
Baby, it's hot out there, but that shouldn't keep anyone from seeking out new words, whether spoken aloud or written in books. Local slam poets are entering the final stretch before heading off to this year's national competitions, literary poets are still staging readings and authors are bringing their juicy summer reads to the local independent bookstores. Here are a few things to celebrate this week.

See also: The ten best movie events in Denver in July

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Three poetry and book events for the week of June 30-July 6

Mario Acevedo: "Wednesday Night at the Denver Diner," Art & Writing, Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

It's high summer as we head into the Fourth of July holiday, when author tours take a break -- just like the rest of us. But in the meantime, we can hear poetry to raise a fist to, goof off literarally or see an art show that celebrates books and writers. Check 'em out.

See also: Saving Grace: Damien Echols and Lorri Davis

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Three poetry and book events for the week of June 23-29

Whether you're looking for summer reading, poetic inspiration or just a good time with a side of culture, there's a literary event for you this week. Read on and we'll tell you where the poets are rhyming and the hottest authors are reading.

See also: Ed Ward's "Stories, Stories, Bring Your Stories"

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Literary Calendar: Five spoken word events and readings for the week of June 2-8

Lend support to the Minor Disturbance youth slam team at the Griot's Gathering Tuesday.
Denver is a book town and a poetry town and a town where stories are told in darkened rooms. But it's easy to lose track of literary events in the bustle of everything else going on in Denver, from breweries to bike rides. We're here to help. Keep reading for a preview of some of this week's hottest readings, slams, open mics and other events on the literary calendar.

See also: Tom Robbins, Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch

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Cheer on the youth poets of Minor Disturbance at tonight's Grand Slam

Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer for Brave New Voices.
Nobody knows how deep the talent goes in our local youth slam-poetry community better than Denver poet and youth mentor Ken Arkind. He's been on the side of young poets -- and at their side as they represent Denver at the national Brave New Voices youth slam competition on the Minor Disturbance team -- as a coach and cheerleader for many years. So if he crows a bit about his kids, it's only because he's seen firsthand how good they really are.

See also: Denver's Minor Disturbance youth slam poetry team takes the nation again at Brave New Voices

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Remembering Ludlow: A roundup of commemorative events

The Ludlow Memorial.
A century ago this week, a long-simmering conflict between miners on strike in the southern Colorado coalfields and troops of the Colorado National Guard erupted into the deadliest labor war in American history. A raging gun battle on April 20, 1914, resulted in the destruction of the strikers' Ludlow tent colony and the deaths of nearly two dozen people -- most of them women and children who'd sought refuge from the shooting in a small cellar under one of the tents. The Ludlow Massacre, as it became known, is one of the darkest yet most neglected chapters of state history -- but a slew of commemorative events planned to mark its hundredth anniversary could help change that.

See also:
Best History Book 2009 -- Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War

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Poet laureate Jovan Mays talks about Aurora, his hometown

Categories: Poetry

Ben Lzicar
Aurora poet laureate Jovan Mays.
Jovan Mays, the first-ever poet laureate of Aurora, wants his poetry to capture the voices of the city's people, who first inspired him to write and perform poetry. An Aurora native and graduate of Smoky Hills High School, Mays has been invested in the Aurora community since he was a kid. "We lived in a tiny house next to the old Stapleton airport. Our back yard was planes, our front yard was trains," he laughs.

But what he loved most about growing up in Aurora was the social aspect. His dad delivered bread to grocery stores around town, so everyone knew him and his family. And every time Mays came home from college in Chadron, Nebraska, he found more muses among his Aurora neighbors. "There are so many kinds of people, it's a beautiful balance," he says. "Aurora is a gleam of the original ideal of middle class."

See also: Aurora's got a poet laureate but Denver doesn't? You can bet the Big Blue Bear's butt on it!

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Poet Yosimar Reyes on the power of personal narratives

Categories: Activism, Poetry

Courtesy of Yosimar Reyes
Yosimar Reyes is an award-winning poet bringing the stories of undocumented queer people to audiences across the United States.
Your story matters, says poet Yosimar Reyes, who denies the dominant narrative of United States citizenship, that "real Americans" are blue-eyed, blond-haired, white, upper-middle class men fully assimilated into the American Dream.

This isn't historical; this isn't reality, he says:This is a nation founded on immigrants. Living in the United States is about more than having a social security number; it is about connecting to a rich cultural tradition. For Reyes, that cultural heritage spans the stories that his grandmother passed down about Mexico all the way to James Baldwin's writing. Reyes is a constant reader who rejects the idea that poetry requires training; poetry is accessible. Anyone can write it. Despite risking arrest and deportation, he travels across the country performing and teaching others to connect with their own histories, and he will be in Boulder today for Undocuqueer Voices: Stories of Growing Up Queer and Undocumented. In advance of his appearance, Westword spoke with Reyes about his journey as a writer, performer and teacher.

See also: Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

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