Warm smiles and soft lighting, shifting pages covered in words set into rhythmic compositions. Friends drinking and listening together. This was the scene on Saturday evening at The Bad Shadow Affair, a poetry and prose reading series at Lost Lake Lounge. The series is a step in the right direction for Denver, which could use more events that pair two of the greatest things in life: literature and booze.
Now, and for the past two months, thanks to poets Sommer Browning and Julia Cohen, the organizers of the event, Denver word-lovers have a regular place to go to soak up live poetry and prose by local and regional authors. And of course, have a few cocktails in the process.
The night offered a different scene than what you might usually expect at a bar on east Colfax. The left half of the space was set up with tables and a couch facing the microphone and resembled a charming living room more than a bar. Candlelight bouncing off the wood-walled interior gave the room a warm ambiance as listeners gathered with their drinks and stayed reverently silent.
You never have a dearth of beautiful phrasing when poets introduce other poets to read poetry. Browning, a Brooklyn transplant who ran a reading series in Williamsburg for six years before moving to Denver, got the show started, elegantly introducing the first poet, who proceeded to fill the room with imagery, at once full of tenderness and intensity.
Poets doing what they do best: existing in two places at once.
Some poems were read out of glossy, published books, while others were read from loose sheets of paper, works in progress or forthcoming manuscripts. It was a prefect place to experience living, breathing and growing literature. There were four readers in all.
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So far, most of the readers have been poets, but Browning said they try to have at least one fiction reader for each event.
"It's a great way to meet people and bring people together," Browning said.
The next gathering for The Bad Shadow Affair will be on November 6 at 8 p.m. at Lost Lake Lounge, 3602 East Colfax. Now get on over there, literature lovers of Denver, and meet some friends.