News Poem: ‘Oil and Water’

Chris Ransick was appointed Denver Poet Laureate in 2006. He is the author of five books, including Never Summer, which won a Colorado Book Award for poetry, and Language for the Living and the Dead, published in 2013.

He will appear with nine other poets, including Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason, as part of a benefit for victims of the Colorado floods. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race Street in Denver, and is open to the public. For details, watch this space.

The Colorado Independent‘s “News-Stained Poetry Project” features poems that are about the news, products of the news, responses to the news. “News stained” is meant as a badge of honor, a reference to the long tradition of the poet as witness. As Carolyn Forché wrote, politics can sometimes be seen as a “contaminant to serious literary work,” something to be avoided. But that way of thinking, she said, “gives the political realm too much and too little scope… It renders the personal too important and not important enough.” News developments, whether or not they are reported, shape our personal lives every day. We don’t often think in the moment about how that is happening and what it means. We should think more about it. Poets think about it. And we want to help encourage them to write more about it.

Please send submissions to, subject line “poem,” with a short bio and some mention of where and when the poem was written.

[Image by Shane Davis Fracktivist ]