News Poem: ‘Saying Grace’

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Poet Laureate Dave Mason read “Saying Grace” at the state capitol this week on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act, which legally defined wild areas in the United States and now protects more than 9 million acres, including more than 3 million acres in Colorado.

Photo of the Eagles Nest Wilderness by one of Colorado’s best-known landscape photographers, John Fielder, who is currently touring the state to celebrate Colorado’s wild areas and to raise funds to protect and expand them.

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.