It’s not easy to be a published author. It’s not easy, it’s not simple, and it isn’t a road that many have been able to walk in the world, despite innumerable amounts of aspiring writers and poets trying. That’s precisely why the SoCo Reading Series at Colorado State University-Pueblo provides an enchanting opportunity into the minds of accomplished authors and poets.
Going strong for the last 15 years, the SoCo Reading Series has regularly brought accomplished authors and poets to CSU-Pueblo to read their work and meet the Pueblo community.
Examining a list of previous guests from the series includes a cavalcade of diverse and unique content creators.
Rigoberto Gonzalez, an award-winning poet; Pam Houston, a decorated short-story writer; Zakes Mda, a South African writer that has seen his content translated and appreciated around the world; all have been a part of the reading series in recent years.
Currently handling the series is Associate Professor of English and the Director of Creative Writing, Juan Morales, who took over the position from the previous curator David Keplinger.
Morales explained that the series sought out only the finest authors who could not only inspire those in attendance, but also speak to the diverse issues that are so prevalent in today’s society.
To this point, the series has been put together with great support from the Pueblo community, as well as the college community-at-large in Colorado.
The Pueblo Progressive Poetry Project, or P4, has worked diligently to provide the artistic world a platform to perform in Pueblo, partnering with the SoCo Reading Series in order to have these writers and poets come to plucky Colorado City.
Colorado College also has worked with the series to get authors from around the globe to visit the mountain state.
Morales admitted that the series was a group effort and that greater exposure at large is a priority for those organizing the events, hoping that each reading will be packed to the brim and enjoyed by everyone.
Morales did go on to express great pride in the series and its purpose over the years, saying, “It lets students, faculty, and community members meet these great writers and poets.”
The series was also lauded for the opportunity to motivate students. Frequently during the dog days of college, a student may feel as though the tribulations of college aren’t exactly worth the seemingly remote possibilities of success. As Morales explains, the reading series provides these students with the inspiration they may need.
“It’s good for students who believe getting published is a distant dream. It’s something to inspire them and make them think ‘Why not me?’” the professor claimed.
The community impact was also something Morales was very clear about as the series isn’t secluded to just the CSU-Pueblo campus, but rather a round-robin of locations in Pueblo.
“Your university is as strong as your bond to the community,” Morales said, clarifying that it’s important for the community and campus to be connected in events such as this.
The first reading of the fall semester was held off-campus at the Songbird Cellars in downtown Pueblo, featuring two guests of rare talent in Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval.
Goodwin, an award-winning playwright and poet, has had several stage plays produced and works as an associate professor. Coval, author of many celebrated books, has worked for several as an editor and organizer of youth poetry groups, and also works as a professor in Chicago.
Both are renowned for their use and study of hip-hop in literary and poetic form, performing and using the music style in their teachings and art.
The goal for series, Morales said, is for there to be around four readings a semester, with there potentially being one every four weeks or so. Some guests already slated for this semester include the United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, and writer, Benjamin Alire Saenz.
The SoCo Reading Series is by no means new to the CSU-Pueblo campus, nor to the Pueblo community, but fall upon us, the series seeks to bring fresh faces, ideas, and art to the steel city.
Edited by: Theresa Wolf