Jenny Shank leads a literary tour of Denver

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We've long lamented the lack of a strong literary history of Denver -- and now Jenny Shank, author of The Ringer, has provided one, just published on the em>Poets and Writers web site.

"Colorado has often been a boom and bust state," she writes, "attracting outsized characters prone to 'dreaming the large Western dream of easy money, of a fortune kicked up somewhere in the hills -- and oil well, a gold mine, a ledge of copper,' as Willa Cather wrote in The Song of the Lark, a novel that begins in the fictional town of Moonstone, Colorado."

But for all those outsized characters, Denver does not have an outsized reputation for its literary efforts, Shank points out. And she builds a case that the city deserves more attention, name-checking such accomplished authors as John Fante, a Westword favorite; Kent Haruf, who sent his Plainsong characters to visit the big city of Denver; Annie Proulx, who lived in a LoDo loft for a while; and Jack Kerouac, of course.

"All Denver needs is a literary cheerleader," Shank insists. "As there have been no other applicants for this position, for the time the job falls to me."

You can follow along her tour of the literary life of Denver here.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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