Jan 262005
Authors: Katie Kelley

Words cannot describe the beauty and intensity for which they deliver their art. Many would call them philosophers, some would say dreamers, others would say artists, but most would call them poets.

They are the enlightened few with ideals descending from great poets such as E.E. Cummings, Jim Morrison, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.

They are influenced by the likes of Frederick Niche, William Blake, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.

They could easily be compared to the beat generation poets who were a small group of friends from Columbia University consisting of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs. These men paved the way for poetry to become more than just words but a lifestyle for an artistic community.

Reviving the dwindling art of the beat generation-infused style of poetry is a group of people gathering at 7 p.m. every Monday at the Alley Cat Coffee Shop, 120 1/2 W. Laurel St. They wander into a room where a sign in front of the door politely requests the removal of shoes before joining the group, which arranges into an uneven circle so all can be heard. They bare their socks and their souls to each other, all in the span of two hours.

The night begins with introductions of everyone's name from around the room and moves to the poem reading. Beth Gilbert, a barista at the Alley Cat, reads a poem aloud with a child-like innocence yet still in a sultry voice, doing her best to emphasize the correct words to create the mood. All eyes focus on the mind-thwarting visualizations the words flowing from her mouth create.

Gilbert, who is also a student at Front Range Community College studying creative writing and environmental history, created the poetry readings in October when she volunteered her time to resuscitate an all-too-commonly lost art form back to life for today's youth.

"This is the high point of my work," Gilbert said. "I come out feeling so inspired."

Gilbert uses the time she has during the poetry readings to keep a positive and open-minded environment. The readings at first began upstairs in the actual coffee shop, but they eventually moved down to a room located next to the Alley Cat's entrance.

"With the gathering masses we rolled down the preverbal hill and trickled into here," Gilbert said.

While the evening was dominated by poetry, conversations of self-awareness, writing styles, politics and philosophy occasionally pop up. However, the energy of the room and diverse personalities and perspectives lead not to arguments but instead to the next poem read.

After each poem, contemplation and compliments are given to the poet. The members act as inspiration for one another and further reminiscence about the great beat artists of the late 1940s and early 1950s, who also developed friendships because of their love for poetry.

"I believe it is getting better," said Will Wayland, community member who has been attending the readings from the beginning. "The last two Mondays were intense, captivating and expressive. So many different people are coming in; struggling prophets and visionaries popping in from time to time."

Aaron Evensiosky, a community member who also has been coming since the start of the poetry readings, enjoys the evenings and their growing success.

"I feel like they are getting stronger and more expressive," Evensiosky said.

Everyone who reads a poem is not only rewarded with compliments by the other poets but also receives 50 cents off of any beverage at the coffee shop above.

The poetry readings will continue to reward those wandering into the room with words of expression from others.

"It's all beautiful. It's all poetry," Wayland said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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