ICYMI: A Night of News Poetry

We came, we saw, we were inspired.

ICYMI: A Night of News Poetry

It was a night of thoughtful discussion, compelling poetry and plenty of the requisite wine and cheese. Moderated by TCI’s very own Tessa Cheek, the panel explored how the medium of poetry has the ability to communicate truth that straight-ahead (read: bland and utilitarian) news articles do not. The panel was comprised of five local poets who invited the audience to consider the role of the poet in public life. The poet-as-witness can imaginatively and viscerally relay the experience of an event for readers to gain insight into aspects of the news that go beyond the merely factual. Maybe we all need a little more poetry in our news.

Meet the featured poets:

Jane Hilberry

In her book of poems Body Painting, Hilberry celebrates unconventional choices-to love both men and women, not to have children, to abandon the attempt to find God in church. She ends up loving the impermanent world and the mortal body, wanting only to touch “what’s returning to earth.”

Hilberry teaches literature and creative writing at Colorado College and serves on the faculty of the Banff Centre’s Art of Executive Leadership program. Her honors include a Colorado Council on the Arts Recognition Award for Poetry and a Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Research Award.

Jacqueline St. Joan

Her writing brings the fields of law and literature together with the voices of contemporary women. St. Joan spent thirty years working as a lawyer, a judge, a law professor, and writer specializing in the field of domestic violence reform.

Working in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, St. Joan is adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State College in courses related to women, law, literature and violence. Her novel, a story set inside Pakistan’s human rights movement, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in Literary Fiction.

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

McFadyen-Ketchum is the author of Ghost Gear, a book of poems chronicling his coming of age in a working-class neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee. His anthology, Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, was released in 2012.

He is Founder and Editor of PoemoftheWeek.org and Editor of The Floodgate Chapbook Series published each Fall by Upper Rubber Boot Books. He teaches writing at CU-Denver and Metro State University.

Michele Battiste

Battiste’s second collection of poems, Uprising, based on archival reporting from the Hungarian Revolution, was published this spring. She was a finalist for the 2013 National Poetry Series and is the author of four chapbooks.

Battiste has taught poetry writing for Wichita State University, the Prison Arts Program in Hutchinson, Kan., Gotham Writers’ Workshops, and the national writing program Teen Ink. She lives in Colorado where she raises funds for organizations undoing corporate evil.

Aaron Anstett

Aaron Anstett’s latest collection, Insofar as Heretofore, is due out imminently. His prior collections are SustenanceNo Accident, and Each Place the Body’s, and two chapbooks, The Next Thing You Know and Allegorical Woodcuts, were published in 2013. Among other recognition, his work has received the Nebraska Book Award, the Backwaters Press Award, and the Balcones Poetry Prize.

From 2008-2010, he served as the inaugural Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, instituting a continuing program that places pamphlets of poetry in waiting areas.


Stay tuned for the next TCI event—if it’s anything like this one, you won’t want to miss it! And if now you find yourself thirsting for more news poetry, follow this link to read more.

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About the Author

Nat Stein

Nat Stein is a Denver-based reporter. Check out her other work at Cipher magazine, KRCC public radio, Jacobin magazine and In These Times.


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  3. Art Goodtimes on said:

    Wonderful idea. The old papers in San Miguel County always carried poetry as part of their news mix. The Telluride Watch (and its antecedants featuring my column “Up Bear Creek”) has been running a poem a week for 30+ years. Kudos to CI and Tessa for bringing back this tradition statewide.

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