Next One Book, One Denver choice won't be a Colorado book: Why not?

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Mayor Michael Hancock will reveal the eighth selection in the One Book, One Denver program today outside of the new Denver Municipal Animal Shelter, where a giant sculpture of a dog stands guard outside. "Sunspot" is a stunning reminder of how much the arts can enrich our lives... and our city facilities.

Denver is extolled for its creative class of entrepreneurs and artists. Unfortunately, our book-reading program does not celebrate them. Out of eight volumes, only one, Articles of War, was by a local writer, Nick Arvin; none of them have been about Denver, or even Colorado.

The point of the program, its organizers will tell you, is to promote reading and literacy -- not Colorado literature. But couldn't it do both?

There's great literature about Colorado, great literature by Coloradans. Chris Ransick, Denver's poet laureate from 2006 to 2010, is working with another group of writers to create an anthology of writing about Colorado, and he says there's no shortage of material to work with. But it will take time to work through it all.

In the meantime, you can get a taste of this state's writing in The Colorado Book, published by Fulcrum Publishing in 1993 and, like Ransick's effort, inspired by The Last Best Place, a thousand-plus-page anthology of writing about Montana that came out in time for that state's centennial in 1989. According to Fulcrum's Brynn Flaherty, Bob Baron, founder of the Golden-based publishing house, was so taken with the Montana effort that he pulled together a group of historians and writers to come up with a similar book. The group was headed by Eleanor Gehres, the late, legendary manager of the Denver Public History Department at the Denver Public Library, and their selections include many of the usual suspects, as well as a few surprises.

The book, initially published in 1993, is still in print, and it's a good reminder of the talent we have here in Colorado. Read it alongside whatever tome Hancock announces today. Hint: We suspect it will involve a dog.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Denver boot puts the lock on the Global Business Travel Association bash."

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


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