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Poetry to the People

In what Anne Waldman -- one of the founders of Naropa University and a teacher at the university’s summer writing program -- calls “the opening act for this summer’s Democratic National Convention,” students, staff and community will gather today to represent their view of the process in their own Poets Party Convention.

The event will start at 8 p.m. at Naropa, 2130 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, and continue until everyone is finished reading, with a break at some point to watch fireworks. The work of both students and faculty will be presented, in the form of original or classic poetry, stories, essays or reworkings of established works.

“For example, someone might take the national anthem and respond to it or make it their own,” says Lisa Birman, director of the summer writing program. Birman also sees the convention as a merging of the community of writers and the community at large. “We’ve invited the community to contribute words or phrases to our political manifesto,” she says. “We’ve been collaging their words and statements into a political manifesto for the party.”

Waldman had first talked publicly about the idea in early February, during an interview on radio station KGNU. She believes that Naropa’s unique tradition of activism creates an alternative window into the convention. “I think of a generosity in terms of my forebears,” she says. “Allen Ginsberg was tremendously generous with his thoughts and positions.”

The Poets Party Convention, which offers an alternative to both the DNC and a typical Independence Day outing, is free and open to all. Go to or or call 303-245-4665.
Fri., July 4, 2008


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