Whenever you hear Poetry719, your reply is, “We do stuff!” Now you’re in the know and ready to join the Poetry 719 We Do Stuff Festival, happening Oct. 17-23, the third week of Arts Month 2022, celebrating poetry, prose and comedy.
“It’s our callback,” says Ashley Cornelius, co-director of Poetry 719 and Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak Region since 2021. “We’ll do it in the beginning of an event. We’ll do it in the middle. And sometimes it’s a cool sound-off to say, ‘Hey, we’re with Poetry719, and the people who already know what to do say, ‘We do stuff!’ back. So it’s something that grows and is just this identifier of a community.”
That community of poets and spoken word artists has always been welcoming, and the We Do Stuff Festival offers an entire week’s worth of events to give you a new cultural experience for Arts Month. Now in its fifth year, the festival consists of 11 events over seven days, mixing a wide range of themes, art forms, voices and even types of locations, from Zoom to hiking trails.
“It’s really a joy to be able to reach into our community and provide kind of a smorgasbord of poetry events during Arts Month,” Cornelius says.
If your idea of poetry is stuffy and antiquated, then you haven’t been to a poetry slam, open mic or any event by Poetry719. There’s snapping and sharing and loud cheering, and it’s made to be participatory. You can certainly come and just watch, but Poetry719 events usually include a writing workshop to give people an opportunity to create and share if they choose.
“We get really excited when people get on the mic for the first time or the 100th time,” Cornelius says. “We just want people to use their voices.”
The We Do Stuff Festival schedule is purposefully inclusive, in keeping with Poetry719’s mission to uplift and celebrate voices of marginalized communities and people of color. Specific events highlight the voices of Black, disabled, LGBTQ, women of color, young poets and more. And collaborative events combine poetry with the likes of dance, hiking, wine tasting, beer tasting, printmaking, social justice or other activities. They make it easy to discover a new cultural experience for Arts Month.
“Poetry is healing and powerful and wonderful, and it’s also fun,” Cornelius says. “We get to laugh and smile and just be in community together around art.”
You can find the complete schedule for the We Do Stuff Festival at poetry719.com. Whichever events you choose to explore, you’re sure to be welcomed. “It’s a vibrant community,” Cornelius says. “There’s a lot of love and care.”