Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Muse: New Colorado Poet Laureate

There's no reason that poetry cannot be integrated
into every aspect of teaching and enrich the lives of children.*
~ Colorado Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison

Colorado's state poet is Joseph Hutchison, whose appointment was announced earlier in September. Hutchison, born in Colorado, succeeds David Mason, who served from July 1, 2010, to September 7, 2014. In the announcement of Hutchison's appointment, Governor John Hickenlooper called Hutchison's work "stunning", adding that "Colorado is lucky to have such a talented poet in our midst."**

Information about the Poet Laureate position is included in my Monday Muse post about Mary Crow, Mason's predecessor. Also see the Colorado Creative Industries page in Resources below.

Speaking about his appointment as state poet, Hutchison noted that his plans include producing poetry-related resources for classroom teaching: "Being poet laureate means an opportunity for me to help develop awareness of poetry, and to help teachers across the state to integrate more creative work, such as poetry, into the context of their daily lessons. My passion is to really help those teachers expose this art form to the students."*** According to an interview with the alumni association of the University of Northern Colorado, Hutchison hopes to create a database of Colorado poets, with poems by each organized topically, "so teachers can more easily incorporate poetry into their lesson plans."

Colorado's official advocate for poetry, Hutchison will serve a four-year term. As have his predecessors, he will be the state's traveling ambassador for poetry and literacy. One of his initial duties will be to present a poem at the opening of the annual Colorado General Assembly legislative session.

* * * * *
Poems have contained the best, deepest critical thinking
about human life on this planet.****

Joseph Hutchison — who credits his public school teachers with fostering his passion for poetry and his university instructors with inspiring and helping him refine his poetry-writing skills — has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, of which more than a half-dozen are chapbooks, including The Earth-Boat (Folded Word, 2012) and Sweet Nothing Noise (Wayland Press, 1991). Among the full collections are Bed of Coals (University of Colorado Press, 1995; FutureCycle Press, 2014), which received the 1994 Colorado Poetry Award; Marked Men (Turning Point Books, 2013), which relates in narrative verse stories of a painter attending Christopher Columbus's death, an attack on an Iroquois village in 1788, and the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 (the collection was shortlisted for the 2011 Santa Fe Writers Project Poetry Awards); Thread of the Real (Conundrum Press, 2012), and Rain At Midnight (Sherman Asher Pub., 2000), which was a finalist for the 2001 Colorado Book Award. 

Hutchison, who also writes short fiction, is co-editor of two anthologies: Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle Press, 2013; pdf) and A Song for Occupations: Poems About the American Way of Work (Wayland Press, 1991).

Lauded for the clarity and vividness of his imagery, the intellect and curiosity he  brings to his work, his skill at enjambment, his musicality (note use of alliteration, as in "The Glare": "This slug on the path is both slick and slow-witted...."), use of simile and metaphor, and power of observation, Hutchison takes as his subjects nature, places, American history, the American West, politics, society, and culture, love and redemption, human nature generally. He has written poems as short as a one line ("Artichoke") and stories in long narrative verse (see the trio in Marked Men). He writes free verse and prose poems, and selects form with care; as he told Robert King in an insightful interview at Colorado Poets Center, ". . . I've always felt that a poem's form, whether it's traditional or organic, should be part of the poem's meaning. . . ."

Quoting just a few lines from his poems gives the reader a sense of Hutchison's strong command of language:

[. . .] Our hearts flop in our chests like
deformed frogs. [. . .]
~ from "Claritas"

A crazed sizzle of blazing bees
in the word EAT. [. . .]
~ from "Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe Near Butte, Montana"

[. . .]
The river opens to accept your first step,
and you're into it up to your knees—
the water's wrestle brotherly, bracing.
[. . .] Chest-deep now.
Icy water races past your racing heart,
under raised arms that ache [. . . .]
~ from "Black River"

Hutchison's writing also can be sensual and erotic, with a witty edge:

[. . .]
He slides his hand inside the sheet, dips
a finger into her gently, like the tip
of a brush. "I need to get to work," he says.
She lets the sheet fall, breathing, "So you do."
~ from Section III of "Colon in Extremis"

Currently, a member of the faculty and interim academic director of arts and culture and global affairs at University College at University of Denver, Hutchison has published poems in scores of prestigious literary periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, The Colorado Review, The Denver Quarterly, Glass: A Journal of PoetryHigh Plains Literary ReviewThe Hudson ReviewThe Little Review, Luna, The Mid-West Quarterly, Mississippi ReviewThe Nation, The Northwest ReviewOhio Review, PoetryPoetry Now, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prairie SchoonerRhinoValparaiso Poetry ReviewYes magazine, and Zone 3.

In addition, Hutchison's poetry has appeared in the online anthology Poets for Living Waters and in several dozen print anthologies, including Stardust and Fate: The Blueroad Reader (Blueroad Press, 2007) and Ted Kooser's The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (Bison Books, 2007; University of Nebraska Press, 2005). With seven other poets, Hutchison is participating in a collaboration with Colorado artists, Image and Word: Art and Poetry in Conversation (read "A Unique Collaboration by Colorado Artists and Poets to Be Unveiled", Examiner, August 13, 2014).

The poet founded in 2006 The Perpetual Bird, where he blogs. He wrote there about his appointment (and other matters) in his post of September 28, 2014, "Laureation; Against Single-Mindedness; etc."


Photo Credit: Colorado Humanities

All Poetry Excerpts © Joseph Hutchison

Joseph Hutchison Website (You will find there his poetry, prose, a list of readings and presentations, information about online, magazine, and anthologized poems, a book ordering facility, and biographical information.)

Some of Hutchison's other chapbooks or collections are The Heart Inside the Heart (Wayland Press, 1999), the full-length House of Mirrors (James Andrew & Co. Pub., 1992), the full-length The Undersides of Leaves (Wayland Press, 1985), Thirst (Juniper Press, 1984; available through resellers), and Weathers, Vistas, Houses, Dust (Juniper Press, 1980; available through resellers). His chapbook Shadow-Light (Judy Anderson, 1982) received a 1982 Colorado Governor's Award. A lengthy list of his work, including work in anthologies, is available in the Bibliography at Colorado Poets Center. Information about some of Hutchison's collections and chapbooks also appears in Open Library and the Pudding House Collection (it includes Hutchison's Greatest Hits, 1970-2000 [Pudding House Publications, 2003]) at The Ohio State University. Various books may be ordered online at Hutchison's Website; some are signed.

* Quoted in The Denver Post of September 9, 2014 (see link below)

** Quoted from Official Press Release, Office of the Governor

*** Quoted from University of Denver Magazine (see link below) (The quote appears in other articles also.)

**** Quoted in The Colorado Independent of September 9, 2014 (see link below)

"Gov. Hickenlooper Appoints Joseph Hutchison as Colorado Laureate", Press Release, Governor's Office, September 9, 2014 (Audio of Announcement at KUVO/KVJZ)

"Hickenlooper Selects New Colorado Poet Laureate", CBS Denver (Online), September 9, 2014

Audio Interview, "New Poet Laureate of Colorado", 850KOA Radio, September 24, 2014 (15:29 Minutes)

Colorado Alumni Association (University of Northern Colorado The Bear Den), "Alum Interview - Colorado Poet Laureate Joe Hutchison", September 26, 2014 (Though Hutchison is frank that making a living from poetry writing is difficult at best, he says here, ". . . if you just love writing, then find a job in commercial writing or journalism, no matter what it is, it will strengthen your skills and help improve your creative writing; or, you can find a profession that will sustain you and continue writing on the side. Either way, your choice will inform your personal work.")

Patricia Calhoun, "Joe Hutchison, Colorado's New Poet Laureate, Tells the Story of Silas Soule", Denver Westword, September 17, 2014

Jen Mulson, "Blog: New Colorado Poet Laureate", Colorado Springs, September 11, 2014

Tessa Cheek, "Hickenlooper's 'Everyman' Poet Laureate: Joseph Hutchison", The Colorado Independent, September 9, 2014

Will Jones, "University College's Joseph Hutchison Named Colorado's New Poet Laureate", University of Denver Magazine, September 9, 2014

Jesse Paul, "Hickenlooper Names Joseph Hutchison Colorado's Eighth Poet Laureate", The Denver Post, September 9, 2014

William Porter, "Joseph Hutchison: From Poe to Colorado Poet Laureate", The Denver Post, September 21, 2014

Joseph Hutchison Profiles: Colorado Poet Laureate - Joe Hutchison at Colorado Humanities,  Colorado Poets CenterConundrum Press, Open LibraryPoets & WritersUniversity of British Columbia (Creative Writing Program)

Joseph Hutchison Poetry Online: "Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe Near Butte, Montana" and "Channel One", Both at The Denver Post; "Thread of the Real" at Conundrum Press; "Promo in the Form of an Homage"("The Talking Gourd") at Colorado Public Radio (Also at Up Bear Creek); "The Gulf" and "Black-Footed Albatross", Both at Poets for Living Waters; "Claritas" at Colorado Poets Center; "White Peak" at Valparaiso Poetry Review; "City Limits", "The Blue", "Mortality", "The Glare", and "Signals", All at Educational Insights (Audio Available); "A Conflict Photo..." at Kentucky Review; Excerpt from "Colon in Extremis" at Turning Point Books; "Black River", "Shadowy Trees", "The Wound", "What I Know", and "Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe Near Butte, Montana", All at Poetry Foundation; "City Limits" at PoemHunter; "Pneumonia" at Poetry 365 on Tumblr; "Artichoke" at The Versed (The poem is a single line.); "Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe Near Butte, Montana" at American Life in Poetry; "June Morning" at GoogleBooks; "Artichoke" at How to Read a Poem; "Black River" at Colorado; "Letter to a New Critic" and "June Morning", Both at The UNC Bear Den; "Sustenance" and "Mastery", Both at Cerise Press; "From a Swaying Hammock" at Verse Daily; "Adrift" at Denver Syntax; "Three for Issa" at The Lower Half Blog

Joseph Hutchison, "The Ambivalent Image", Educational Insights, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2007

Joseph Hutchison, "Aspects of Time in Poetry" (Essay)

Bob King, "Interview: Joseph Hutchison", The Colorado Poet, No. 26, Spring 2014, at Colorado Poets Center (Hutchison talks about his collection Marked Men and his creative process.)

Bob King, "Interview: Joseph Hutchison", The Colorado Poet, No. 20, Fall 2012, at Colorado Poets Center (Hutchison discusses his 2012 collection The Thread of the Real, how he created the collection, and, among other subjects, his concept of poetry, political poems, diction, and clarity. He says, "Mindfulness is what poetry is all about. . . Poetry is the rest of the poet reclaiming awareness from habit and routine and putting the result in words that can help a reader do the same thing. . . Poetry is a kind of sympathetic magic." Ultimately, he adds, ". . . Poetry, for me, gives us what neither science nor religion can: a celebration of our ignorance. . . .")

Interview with Joseph Hutchison at The Argotist Online on Critique and Analysis of Conceptual Poetry

Review by Jim Murdoch of Bed of Coals at The Truth About Lies, May 18, 2014

Review by Scott Allen of Thread of the Real at Scorched Amalgamation, September 16, 2012

Greatest Hits 1970-2000 (Pudding House Publications, 2003) at GoogleBooks

Sentences (Pudding House Publications, 2003) at GoogleBooks (More than a dozen poems may be read here.)

Joseph Hutchison on FaceBook

Colorado Authors

Colorado Creative Industries Poet Laureate Page (Brief Biographical Profiles of Former State Poets)

Colorado Book Awards

"Colorado's New Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison Reads 'Black-Footed Albatross'", Video:


drew said...

Thanks Maureen! I really enjoy your posts of the poet laureates.

Maureen said...

Thank you for being such a loyal reader, Drew.