The Fort Collins 2017 Poet Laureate contest has narrowed down its candidates to just three individuals. Wolverine Farm Publishing Co. and Bookstore introduced the laureate program as a means to showcase local talent in writing. This is the fifth-annual contest. Poets must be local to Fort Collins and be prepared to serve the community in some way in order to be eligible. The public narrowed a number of nominees down to three on April 10. The top three poets will be scored by last year’s winner, Aby Kaupang and the bookstore staff who will chose a single winner.
Here are the nominees:
Lindsay Murdock found her passion for writing as a first grader after a student teacher provided her support and inspiration. She spent the rest of her years in school writing letters with this teacher and now is a teacher herself. Murdock teaches at Monfort Elementary in Greeley.
“I love trying to make the lives of my first graders as inspirational as my teachers made mine,” Murdock said. “I want to show others to not find the light at the end of the tunnel, but instead find it along the way.”
Murdock has a self-published poetry book entitled “This is Our Canvas.” Outside of writing she enjoys hiking, playing basketball and spending time with her dog and boyfriend.
Felicia Zamora is already a published and decorated author. One of her books, “Of Form and Gather” won the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Much of her start came from her mother, who wrote children’s’ books when Zamora was a child. She recreated her own stories by the age of five in response.
“I admired my mom’s creativity,” Zamora said. “My mom never got a book published, well, because it was the `80s. She was a single parent working in a factory, and children’s’ books have always been a tough genre. However, she planted the seed in me early.”
She found her voice and decided she was officially a writer during her time as a student at Colorado State University.
“I am humbled and honored that the Fort Collins community would consider me for their poet laureate selection,” Zamora said. “Todd Simmons and his team at Wolverine Farm continue to cultivate culture engagement with literature and poetry.”
Natalie Giarratano studied with a number of poets throughout college, which was when she realized that she too was a writer. Originally from southeast Texas, Giarratano and her family moved to Colorado for the mountains and activities.
“Over the last four years, I’ve been lucky enough for my first two books to find good homes, too: ‘Leaving Clean,’ which won the the 2013 Liam Rector Award for the first book of poetry, was published in 2013 by Briery Creek Press; and ‘Big Thicket Blues,’ which was a co-winner of Sundress Publications’ open-reading contest in 2015, was just released in February of this year,” Giarratano said. “Someone once asked how important it was for my poems to be so rooted in place. I thought, but they’re not really rooted in any one place or landscape; if anything, the poems of my first two books reveal an unrooting of sorts—from a person I could’ve become, from a history of violence, both familial and national.”
The winner of this year’s contest will be announced Thursday, April 20.
Collegian reporter Emma Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EmmaTurner1228.