Poets with roots and others who wandered are both featured in this week's literary events. Here's where to have a listen — or go on a journey yourself.
Third Annual Jake Adam York Memorial Reading with Natalie Diaz
Tivoli Student Union, Room 640, Auraria Campus
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2
Poet and professor Jake Adam York passed away suddenly in December 2012, leaving holes not only in the national poetry scene, but in the hearts of his creative writing students at the University of Colorado Denver, where he helped found and produce the CU Denver literary journal Copper Nickel. Since then, CU Denver has been remembering him annually with a memorial reading; this year, Mojave Indian poet Natalie Diaz will do the honors. Alabama-raised York was known for his Southern voice; Diaz powerfully evokes her own heritage in her poetry. Hear her roar at the Tivoli Student Union; a Q & A and book-signing will follow the reading.
Jimmy Santiago Baca, Singing at the Gates
Boulder Book Store
7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3
$5 voucher required to attend
Born into adversity, New Mexican poet Jimmy Santiago Baca honed a plain-spoken and unapologetically political literary voice over four decades. His work — described by American Way as “rust-under-your-fingernails, dust-in-your-eyes, blood-in-your-mouth poetry” — has now been collected in one volume from Grove Press, Singing at the Gates.
Walk2Connect: Jack Was Here, a Beat Generation Walk
My Brother’s Bar
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 5
$25, reservation required
“Here I was in Denver…I stumbled along with the most wicked grin of joy in the world, among the bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Denver’s legendary Beat history will come alive this weekend, when Walk2Connect, a local organization dedicated to getting people on their feet to explore the city, hosts a walking tour along the Kerouac trail, led by beat aficionado Dawn Kirkwood and Walk2Connect walk-master Chris Englert. The four-mile urban walk with commentary begins and ends at My Brother’s Bar; reservations are a must as space is limited —and remember to wear good walking shoes. And — yay! —the $25 fee includes whiskey and Jack Kerouac birthday cake.
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Denver Mercury Slam WOWPS 2016 Sendoff with Kayla Q
7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 6
Kayla Q Frawley is a midwife and community health organizer when she’s not competing on the poetry slam circuit. Since representing Austin in last year’s Women of the World Poetry Slam, she’s become part of the Denver slam family and will head to Brooklyn next week to represent Denver as the Mercury’s pick for 2016 (along with Slam Nuba’s contestant, Confidence) — but not before taking the stage for one last night of hometown poetizing at the Merc to show off her big WoWPS numbers.
What's on the next page in Denver's literary world? Visit Westword's Literary Event listings for this week.