Expect voices you've never heard before. Expect wild, passionate, gorgeous prose and poetry, stories told real and true from people on hard journeys.
The third annual "Poetry in the Streets" reading will be held by the Western Colorado Writers' Forum 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, downtown at the corner of Fourth and Main. The event, funded by the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture, is free and open to the public. Readers will include Forum writers and their students from the Soup Kitchen, the Latimer House, Dept. of Youth Corrections, Riverside Education Center and the VA Medical Center.
Also performing that evening will be "Harmonious Panda and Resonant Well," guitarist Eric McClennan, and drummer Robintix.
Writing facilitators include Wendy Videlock, Rebecca Mullen, Cookie Somerville, Christina Hoagland, Virginia Jensen, WCWF Director Sandy Dorr, Barbara Meeker and Patrick Metoyer.
"I have taught two series of classes with Sandy Dorr at Latimer House," said author and jewelry designer Jensen. "I got to meet some wonderful, brave women and together we wrote poems and stories from our own experiences of life. And it's been true for me that the more I try to teach someone else, the more I learn about myself."
Metoyer, a visual artist, poet and veteran, describes his experience teaching a half-dozen military veterans as one of his most rewarding lifetime activities.
"I am so impressed with the vets' enthusiasm and dedication to the assignments during the past month," Metoyer said. "Barb Meeker, my fellow teacher, and I are proud of the overall achievement of the group. We can't wait for the public to hear our veterans' creative writings."
Veteran Dave McWilliams wrote this during his "Voices" class:
"A sudden strike, a tight line. Amazing. Amazing Grace. Thank you, God. I was lost and now am found. Was blind and now I see. This is real, this is truth, beauty. I know the truth. It tugs at my line, my heart, my mind, my soul. I know the truth, and I feel set free."
The "Voices of the Grand Valley" classes give children and adults who cannot write a chance to tell their stories.
"Remembering and telling one's story can be a lantern that shines into the dark places within us. It connects those who are the most voiceless back to themselves, enabling change, and also back to the community who's listening as audience," Dorr said.
"Writers and artists aren't separate from the communities in which they live. There's a long American artistic tradition, particularly in hard times, for writers to seek out stories of the people who are the most voiceless. And these are strong stuff, poetic, wild, beautiful life stories and poems, in the voices of the people themselves."
Many of the students that have been taught in the "Voices" classes have found housing, started college, or stayed out of juvenile corrections; almost all continue to write.
For information about "Voices" or other WCWF programs, visit www.westerncoloradowriters.org or call 970-256-4662.