City dwellers aren’t exactly known for their balanced, peaceful demeanors. After all, what is it to be “urban” if you can’t be tough, cynical and not particularly inward-looking? Save the hippie stuff for the country, homie. Who has time for self-discovery with bills, rent, traffic, bums, cops and general downtown drama to worry about?

But Denver author Lalania Simone wants to break down the notion that one must escape the city in order to seek inner peace and commune with the cosmos. Her new book, Urban Soul Warrior: Self-Mastery in the Midst of the Metropolis, released in January by Soft Skull Press, draws on her experience growing up in a poor Latino and African-American neighborhood not unlike many of America’s inner cities, where poverty, crime and violence breed a type of hopelessness that can cripple an entire community of minds.

Living in places like Brooklyn and San Diego, Simone sought answers in that large bookstore category of metaphysics and emerged with a personal philosophy somewhere between Deepak Chopra and Mos Def. Urban Soul Warrior, however, is less concerned with new-age navel-gazing than with providing readers with concrete, workbook-style tips on how to integrate rituals such as meditation and affirmation techniques into the everyday craziness of city life. Simone will conduct two readings: tonight at 7 p.m. at Bizarre Bazaar, 4986 Lowell Boulevard, and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27, at the Boulder Bookstore, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder. For details, go to
Fri., Jan. 23, 7 p.m., 2009

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jared Jacang Maher