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English department welcomes authors and poets to campus for SoCo Reading Series

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Photo courtesy of SoCo Reading Series.
Idris Goodwin talks to audience members of this year’s first installment of the SoCo Reading Series. Photo courtesy of SoCo Reading Series.

The first installment of this year’s Southern Colorado Reading Series began Feb. 11 in the LARC’s auditorium. The series, which showcases authors and poets from across the country, mixes the written word with performing arts.

Free to both students and the community, the series has been hosted at CSU-Pueblo for more than 10 years. More events in the series are scheduled throughout the rest of the semester.

The events are sponsored in part by CSU-Pueblo assistant English professor and the head of the creative writing department, Juan Morales.

The SoCo Reading Series begins with an author introducing himself, his work and the themes and messages behind his ideologies. After reading various passages, the audience members are allowed to interact with the author through questions or one on one conversation.

Idris Goodwin is a hip hop artist, playwright, poet and professor. He teaches performance writing and the aesthetics of hip hop at Colorado College, and has appeared on several television stations, including HBO and The Discovery Chanel.

Keeping in theme with Black History Month, Goodwin opened with the preface from his novel “These are the Breaks,” which addresses how the world has come to view and address different skin colors.

“Throughout this book you will hear me refer to myself as black. You will hear me refer to other members of the black race as black. By race I refer to skin color, and by skin color, I mean brown,” Goodwin said in a passage of his novel.

In his novel, he discusses problems with racial labels as they apply to a variety of cultures.

The reading ranged from poems about growing up in the Bronx to feature length hip hop songs, and the event’s ending was met with applause from the audience.

During a question session with the audience, an audience member asked why hip-hop seems like it can come off as bragging.

“It’s letting people know that where still here. We’re still alive,” said Name Marshell, a surprise special guest and poet who accompanied Goodwin.

This year, there will be two more SoCo event readings. The first reading will feature acclaimed poet Kim Addizino on March 12 at 7 p.m. in the LARC’s Auditorium.

Addizino’s latest novel, “The Palace of Illusions,” is comprised of a collection of short stories. The novel has been praised by publications including Literary Journal, The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, among many others.

Concluding this year’s SoCo reading will be Janice Gould and Robert King. Both authors will also be reading selections of their works.

The readings will take place April 6 at 7 p.m. in the LARC’s Auditorium.

Janice Gould has had three poetry collections published since the 1990’s. Her newest work “Doubters and Dreamers,” is a mix of reflective poetry and narrations that highlight her experiences growing up as a halfblooded middle class Native American, and as a lesbian.

Robert King is the author of “Some of These Days,” a poetry collection aimed to reflect the moral turmoil of how he sees the world has progressed throughout his life. Ranging from WWII to Modern day, King’s novel has been well received by reviewers.