News Poem: ‘Valley of the Cranes’


“I began to notice of the incredible number of construction cranes in the area near the MCA and Union Station – and I knew I wanted to write a sestina using the word “crane” as one of the end words. Then began the discovery of why and the answer of the valley and the history of Denver. The valley is being reimagined for this century and the industry of transportation is at the heart of it – the same as it was in the last century. This poem was started in spring 2013. At that time, I think I counted 12 enormous construction cranes from the rooftop cafe looking north and northwest. They made a landscape of their own.”

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 Eszter Hargittai ]