BookBar Hosts ‘Copper Nickel’ Editors
CU DENVER PROFS’ PROSE SERVED WITH GOOD SPIRITS
Beside the narrow streets of Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood are various restaurants, bars, boutiques, and the BookBar—a wine bar and bookstore that many writers call home.
On Feb. 20, CU Denver professors Nicky Beer and Wayne Miller hosted a literary event at the BookBar to showcase their poetry. Miller’s new book, Post-, is set to debut on April 12. Beer is currently working on the manuscript for her new book.
During the event, both poets performed with distinctive styles. As the poet Wendell Berry said in his work, Miller performs “a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.” Miller read a series of elegies from Post-. His quiet discourse on birth and death was heavy enough to crush the listener’s heart.
Beer shattered the silence when she performed. Her voice echoed through the room as she performed poems from her collection The Octopus Game. The poems employed expressions of sea creatures to articulate her enchanting metaphors. “We live in a culture where sometimes the arts seem like they’re second until you lose them completely,” Beer said.
The contrast between the two styles of the readers fostered a memorable experience for the audience. “I love doing readings,” Beer said. “Getting to read my poetry makes it seem like it’s becoming what it’s supposed to be.”
Miller agreed that he enjoys performing at events such as these. “I’ve had times where in the process of reading I sort of discover something about the poem I wasn’t aware of,” Miller said. “This is one of the first times I’ve read some of these poems. I’m kind of excited for the potential for discovery.”
But Miller and Beer don’t just read poetry to strangers. Both writers edit CU Denver’s premier literary journal Copper Nickel. After a brief hiatus that ended in 2014, the journal relaunched by publishing two new issues containing impeccable fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Readers are currently waiting for the journal’s third issue to debut on March 15. They oversee a staff that mainly consists of students.
“When work is not going how you want to go, you’re teaching,” she said. “You get to go and talk about literature and you’re excited. If a student comes up to you asking for guidance, you get to be there to help them.” Miller also felt the same passion about his role on campus. “Helping along the next generation of writers is basically our job,” Miller said. “That is what we are paid to do on this, is to foster talent and to encourage it.”
Without a space for writers to work, they cannot forge art. The BookBar is a place that allows artists to convene and chat, just as coffee shops in Paris in the 1920s could house notable writers like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway.
The BookBar is a setting designed for literature to be read, either in a quiet nook alone or out loud in front of an audience. The BookBar is an ideal locale because it makes small, savory dishes using local and organic food, enabling hungry bookworms to snack without having to put a story down.
Above: CU Denver Professor and Copper Nickel editor Wayne Miller read from his new book Post-.
photo: Nicole Elizabeth • CU Denver Sentry