Literary Events

Inauguration Book Release Celebration

When: Fri., Jan. 20, 7 p.m. 2017

"my parents wonder why i am so angry.

they tell me that King said:

'hate cannot chase out hate.

only love can do that.'

my anger is often mistaken as hate.

when my anger is closer to love.

angry is the most patriotic thing

we can be."

Since November, our divided community has felt a lot of anger, fear, sadness and resentment, much like the rest of the country. When all else fails, poetry exists to capture and share those emotions, and two of our most accomplished local poets have done so beautifully.

"It's been an emotional period," says local poet, playwright and educator, Idris Goodwin, "so let's use this opportunity to bring us all together. We can't be alone. Let's emote together."

Goodwin approached Nico Wilkinson, spoken-word poet and founder of Keep Colorado Springs Queer (as well as Indy Queer & There contributor), in late November, and suggested collaborating on a response to the current landscape of American politics. This collaboration resulted in Inauguration, a chapbook of their poetry, which endeavors to encapsulate their experiences and emotions as minorities looking at the realities of a post-Trump world.

The poems "talk to each other," as Wilkinson puts it, and though the two poets' different styles are apparent, Wilkinson has a point. Recurring imagery, complementary rhythm and thematic similarities tie each of the ten poems together. They convey desperation or pride or fear or a sense of community, all through the eyes of a black man and a queer person who don't know what their lives are going to look like in the coming years.

But it isn't all bleak. There's optimism in the very nature of Inauguration, which was created with one simple purpose in mind: to bring people together. That's why tonight's book release celebration is exactly that, a celebration of the growing grassroots, progressive movement in this city, and a celebration of the beauty of collaboration.

That collaboration extends well beyond Inauguration's poetry. Han Sayles, community activist and former manager of the late, great Mountain Fold Books, has "poured her blood, sweat and tears" into designing and printing the chapbook for a limited run, using old-fashioned letterpress techniques and hand-stitching on each spine. Though Haymarket Books will release Inauguration digitally for free, only 100 printed copies ($20 each) will be available for sale at tonight's event.

"The three of us came together to create art," Goodwin says, but he acknowledges that the real goal, the real piece of artwork, isn't just the book — it's tonight's event. And "the audience is the fourth collaborator."

Joining Goodwin and Wilkinson on stage will be various regular performers from the monthly Keep Colorado Springs Queer open mic, including Mallory Everhart of Hear Here, comedians Arielle Mari and Lukey Walden, and local hip-hop superstar Stoney Bertz.

It will be emotional, no doubt, since emotion is the very nature of poetry, but it will also be healing, an opportunity to come together as a community and begin moving forward.

7 p.m., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., free, 634-5581.

Price: Free

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