3 Indie Colorado Poets You Should Be Reading This Summer

One thing that Denver has become known for over the past decade is its massive influx of out-of-staters moving to the Mile High City. Whether it be a consequence of this ever-changing mix of voices or a reaction to the inspiring cultural and physical landscape of the state, Colorado is home to a rich and vibrant poetry scene.

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 Image from AndreaRexilius.com

Almost every night of the week, you can find more than a handful of packed open mics across the Front Range where local poets take the stage. From the infamous Mutiny Cafe off South Broadway to the Laughing Goat in Boulder, you can duck into coffee shops and venues across the state and be transfixed by the creative energy of our local poets.

At Steuben Press, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented and driven poets across the country. And we believe that indie and self-published poets rarely get the spotlight on their work that they deserve. 

Whether spending a long weekend in the mountains or relaxing at your favorite coffee shop, everyone can use an inspiring collection of poetry to spark their imagination. Although it wasn’t easy to narrow down our choices, here are 3 local indie poets whose collections you should be reading this summer. 

Islanders by Teow Lim Goh

Released by local Colorado indie publisher Conundrum Press, local poet Teow Lim Goh’s recent poetry collection Islanders illuminates a dark snapshot of American history that has largely remained hidden from public view and absent from national memory.

Between 1910 and 1940, Chinese immigrants to America were detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the San Francisco Bay. While detainees waited for weeks or even months, some of the men wrote poems on the walls. However, the women’s quarters were destroyed by a fire, which is where Goh steps in to imagine these lost voices. 

Blending national history with her own family’s history, research with prose, and fact with fiction, Goh reaches into the past to help us more clearly see our present American identity and the barriers that make accessing this identity so complicated.


Hero Victim Villain by Brice Maiurro

Indie publisher Stubborn Mule Press specializes in “radical country poetry that ain’t goin nowhere” — and indeed, Denver-based poet Brice Maiurro’s newest poetry collection Hero Victim Villain is an iconic example of the poetics of place and how landscape shapes identity.

Deeply rooted in the city streets and craggy peaks that make up the Colorado architecture, the unique zeitgeist of the Front Range remains ever-present throughout the collection. Just as Denver exists on the border of urban sprawl and sprawling pastoral living, the vibrant narrators we meet on each page of Maiurro’s collection are so often on the border of being a hero, a villain, or a victim — and in every stanza, just as in every choice we’re given, we find opportunity for all three.

Sister Urn by Andrea Rexilius

Denver-based poet, educator, and Program Coordinator at Regis University's Mile High MFA program, Andrea Rexilius is the author of four full-length poetry collections — the most recent of which is Sister Urn.

In the wake of her sister’s death, Rexilius’ poignant collection serves as testament to the fissuring that occurs in death — fissuring between ourselves and our loved ones, and the internal fissuring of self as our identities and lived experiences are so deeply interwoven with the bodies and experiences of those we love. Rexilius’ language buoys between submersion and resilience as she buoys between the mutable and imperfect states of memory and present moment, self and other, life and death.

Sister Urn was released on June 4th by the nonprofit press Sidebrow

From poets to memoirists, fictionistas to journalists, working with the creatives behind the printed product is one of our favorite parts about Steuben Press. And we really love it when self-published and indie authors are open to sharing their wisdom and experience about the industry.

On that note, we were lucky enough to interview 3 local authors/literary mavens to find out what new authors can do to make their first book release party extra exciting and memorable. Read on to discover how to blow ‘em out of the water with your book release party »
 

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.

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In early 2013 I approached Steuben Press on a book project I'd hope to get off the ground. I was referred to them by another business entirely, which I think is a credit to how Steuben Press is seen amongst their competitors. The project was a 120 page, full color art book that came out amazing. They under promised and over delivered a great book which I’m happy to report is already on its third printing. I have and would recommend Steuben Press to my friends and other self-publishers.

– Ian Robert McKown, Colorado

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