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Colorado poets share insights into evolving poetry field at SoCo Reading Series

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From left to right: Kyle Laws, Joseph Hutchinson, Jared Smith stand in front of a piece of art at the Kadoya Gallery. | Photo courtesy of Jonothan Stephenson
From left to right: Kyle Laws, Joseph Hutchinson and Jared Smith stand in front of a piece of art at the Kadoya Gallery. | Photo courtesy of Jonothan Stephenson

Three Colorado poets provided a reading of their published works and gave insight into the evolving field of poetry March 3. The event was part of the Southern Colorado Reading Series and the Pueblo Progressive Poetry Project.

The reading took place in the posh, intimate setting of the downtown Kadoya Gallery, and featured Joseph Hutchinson, Colorado Poet Laureate for 2014-2018, as well as Jared Smith and Kyle Laws. The samples reflected a wide range of subjects from history to science to politics, while sometimes including a combination of the three.

Smith, who lives in the northern part of the state, read a sequence of intricate science-based poems that drew on powerful references to nature. His poem, “Equinox,” detailed a railway at the foot of a Colorado mountain.

Although Smith has two degrees in literature from New York University, he shared that he made his living as a research executive in science. He explained that literature and science are parallel tracks.

“If you’re really interested in creating things, you think much the same way, whether you’re working in the arts or in the sciences,” Smith said.

Hutchinson mostly read a series of cultural and political poems from his book, “The Satirical Lounge,” a few of which caused members of the audience to chuckle or nod in agreement, such as a “Dream of Difference.”

However, Hutchinson expressed an opinion about poetry that was similar to that of Smith’s. Despite receiving degrees in both English and secondary education, he said that he has seen a lot of cross-fertilization between the sciences and poetry.

“The best scientists have a poetic view of what they do. They’re not looking at how many ants they can count, they’re trying to see larger patterns and systems,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson described poetry as a system of knowledge, and encouraged people to view it as such, even though poetry is often only used in schools to teach students how to utilize literary devices.

Laws, a Pueblo resident who has published seven collections of poetry, read poems that focused particularly on historical occurrences such as the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II and Japanese internment camps in southeastern Colorado.

Unlike Smith and Hutchinson, she was not sure that science and poetry are necessarily parallel to each other. However, she said she believes that science has the ability to form literature.

The Southern Colorado Reading Series has occurred for nine years and is a free opportunity available to students and members of the community. The next reading will be on April 27th. For more information regarding upcoming events, one can contact Juan Morales, associate professor of English/foreign languages at juanmorales@csupueblo.edu or (719) 549-2082.