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Winter of Poetry in Cherry Creek

Winter Trees poem hangs in a storefront along the scavenger hunt path.
Photo: Trevor Leach · The Sentry

As part of their Winter of Reading program, Denver Public Library (DPL) hosts a variety of activities throughout the chilly season. Amidst the boujee atmosphere of Cherry Creek, several shops installed neatly printed and laminated poems in their windows. Each of the selected works relate to winter in some way, bringing the public in closer connection with the environment. 

Despite the increasing frustration from Denver residents concerning the parking situation in Cherry Creek, some of the streets by the library are free to park for two-hour intervals. Beginning at the Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library, located in a boxy white building at the corner of Milwaukee St. and E. First Ave., the first poem greets visitors at the front door. 

After getting a map of the other locations from the information desk, the poetry walk continues in the surrounding city blocks. By taking advantage of the free parking, enjoying the displays can be at no cost. 

While some of the poems are obvious from the sidewalk, some require extra searching. In order to see all of them, the walk becomes more of a scavenger hunt. Some of the shops include Poke Moke, Hermitage Antiquarian Bookshop, Dazbog, Vineyard Wine Shop, and Ku Cha House of Tea. Other sites such as the Cherry Cricket restaurant and the Jacquard Hotel also participate.   

Each of the poems are written by some of the most beloved American writers, thoughtfully curated to resonate with a Colorado audience. On the front door of the library, Modernist lyric poet Sara Teasdale sets the tone with her tender free verse. Tucked below street level on the corner of Fillmore St. and E. 3rd Ave., Hermitage Antiquarian bookshop displays the words of abolitionist and feminist Louisa May Alcott. Poems by William Carlos Williams, Hannah Flagg Gould, D. H. Lawrence, and others inspire passersby with musings on life during the winter months. 

Denver Public Library engages the community with reading and literature during Winter of Reading, providing creative outlets and enriching experiences for people in the Denver community. After acquiring a brochure from any DPL location and attending at least five different events, participants over the age of 17 can claim a prize. Winter of Reading began this year on January 2 and continues until the end of February. In celebration of Mary Oliver, who won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award, the Mercury Café hosted a reading of her poetry on the anniversary of her death on January 17.  

Upcoming events include a workshop about glass painting on February 8 at Bear Creek Branch Library and a game of Fact or Fiction at Ross-Cherry Creek Branch on February 29. Those interested also have an extra day in the month to check out the poems in Cherry Creek, since 2020 is a leap year. 

Public art, like the Poetry Walk, attempts to dismantle the barriers between art and the general population. While the choice of location in Cherry Creek only reaches certain groups of people, the idea could also be tried elsewhere. By encouraging local businesses to make literature more accessible, DPL enriches the everyday lives of people in Denver. 

Winter of Poetry will be on display in Cherry Creek until Feb. 29.

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