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Diane Thiel likes the phrase "to learn by heart," especially for an activity like memorizing a poem.

"When you memorize a poem, you're getting inside that poem, and it's also becoming a part of you," says the former Fulbright scholar, "The poem comes alive in a different way when you learn it by heart and put it in the air."

On Nov. 16 at Colorado College, Thiel will read from her works, including Echolocations, which won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and her nonfiction work The White Horse: A Columbian Journey. She'll also include some new poems "hot off the pen."

Thiel's subjects run the gamut, from small moments like seeing a lizard in her mailbox or drinking tea, to larger themes like the effect of war and trauma on future generations or our relationship with the environment. The title poem of Echolocations describes walking inside the skeleton of a whale on the Colombian coast.

Her belief in the power of performing poetry makes her an exciting poet to see live. "Poetry is an oral and aural art," Thiel says. "It really is meant to be heard."

She's a poet that walks her talk, too. Dana Gioia and other organizers of the National Poetry Recitation CD which includes actors such as James Earl Jones and Anthony Hopkins, and poets such as Rita Dove and Colorado College's David Mason included Thiel for her reputation as a poet who recites a great deal from memory. The CD is currently being distributed to high schools across the country.


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Diane Thiel, part of Colorado College's Visiting Writers Series

McHugh Commons, 1090 N. Cascade Ave.

Nov. 16, 7 p.m.

Free; visit coloradocollege.edu for more.

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