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With a poetry map, a new way to navigate Denver
Colorado Public Radio

March 6, 2015

Denver Poetry Map creator Aaron Angello in Cheesman Park, Denver


To read and listen to the full story, click here.

Aaron Angello first noticed the powerful relation between poetry and place around five years ago while working on his doctorate in English literature at the University of Colorado Boulder. “We read Charles Olsen’s “Maximus,” poems which take place in Gloucester, and Lorraine Niedecker’s “Paeon to Place” -- all these poems which are specifically tied to location,” Angello says of a class he took which examined the relationship between poetry and place.

That lead Angello to create the Denver Poetry Map, a map that enlivens Denver with poems inspired by specific locations around the city.

“My initial impulse was, 'How I can I get some of these incredibly talented poets to write poems that are somehow associated with very specific places?'” Angello says. “So that you could actually go to that place, read the poem and have some sort of experience of the relationship between the poem itself and the space.”

It's all part of Angello's doctoral research on the intersection between digital technology and the humanities. The digital side only took him a few days. He built the site last November, using Google Maps. Then, he reached out to the Front Range poetry community for contributions to populate the map.

Some poets were initially confused about the assignment, thinking they had to write verses about a specific place. But Angello says he welcomes more nuanced connections between poems and locations.

“I’m interested in the more abstract connections to place that a poem can have -- what in a place might inspire something in a poem?” Angello says.

The Denver Poetry Map currently has nearly 50 locations on it and Angello plans to keep adding new poems as they come in from contributors.

“I want more and more people to read the poetry that’s written in and about Denver,” Angello says. “I hope that it keeps going, growing and filling up with poems.”

To read and listen to the full story, click here.

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