Book It: The Five Best Literary Events This Week

Benjamin Whitmer appears at BookBar on April 15, cigar or no cigar.
Benjamin Whitmer appears at BookBar on April 15, cigar or no cigar. Benjamin Whitmer
If April showers bring May flowers, then April literary events bring a bumper crop of smarter, more engaged Denverites. This week, you can celebrate literacy for Colorado youth, see a banjo master ply his trade, engage in a Poetry Rodeo, contemplate the patterns all around (and inside) you, or delve into the seamy side of Denver's noir-fiction scene.

So how do you want to engage with the literary world? Here are five seriously compelling options.

click to enlarge Penguins love colors. Also baths. And if memory serves, fish. - SARA ASPINALL
Penguins love colors. Also baths. And if memory serves, fish.
Sara Aspinall
A Very Special Story Time, One Book 4 Colorado
11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 10
Anythink Commerce City
7185 Monaco Street
Just who’ll be reading at this special event is still unknown, as the selection for this year’s One Book 4 Colorado won’t be announced until late Monday, April 9. One Book 4 Colorado is an inspiring and important state program that seeks to promote literacy in young Coloradans by providing all four-year-olds access to an exceptional and recently published book. Finalists this year are Sara Aspinall’s Penguins Love Colors, Tedd Arnold’s A Pet for a Fly, and Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld’s Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. All attendees will be given a copy of the winning book; the free event will also be livestreaming on the Anythink website.

Chicago Review Press
John McEuen, The Life I’ve Picked
7 p.m., Tuesday, April 10
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
960 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale
As one of the founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John McEuen stands as a seminal figure in the fusion of folk, rock and country. At this event, he'll perform a few songs, answer a few questions and sign a whole bunch of copies of his memoir The Life I’ve Picked: A Banjo Player’s Nitty Gritty Journey. It’s a book full of memories of the road, of relationships with everyone from Steve Martin to Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash to the Allman Brothers, of the ups and downs of a life lived in service to music. This is a rare opportunity to hear a master picker up close and personal—and get an autographed book by which to remember it.

click to enlarge Okay, so maybe it's an organic-wizard poetry rodeo. - MERCURYCAFE.COM
Okay, so maybe it's an organic-wizard poetry rodeo.
Colorado Poetry Rodeo
11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, April 14
Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street
Looking for some poetry, pardner? The annual Colorado Poetry Rodeo rides into the Mercury Cafe on Saturday, April 14, with a whole posse of local paragons of poetic prowess. Performers include organizer and performance poet SETH, Colorado Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison, Lighthouse’s Michael Henry and many more. (A full list is available at the event’s Facebook page.) The event culminates with an open-mic session at 10 p.m. to close out this thirtieth edition of a beloved Denver tradition from its Western-bohemian underground.

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.
Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen