As Jim Ciletti arises at early dawn one morning after a rainstorm, he greets the day by taking his routine trek out to the lawn to retrieve the daily newspaper. For his poetic recount of this everyday experience in a poem entitled, "Getting the Newspaper from the Lawn," Ciletti won the 2004 Literal Latte award.
He says he is particularly proud of this honor because "somebody in New York, the hub of literary culture in America, recognized a Colorado poet and a poem that celebrates both life and language."
The poem is included in Sunfire, his new book of poems, which he will introduce and sign at the Smokebrush Gallery on Monday, during an evening of poetry and performance.
Ciletti, who was named 2003 "Poet of the Year" by the Pikes Peak Arts Council, says he wants anyone to be able to relate to his poetry.
"Through my mission as a poet, I want to facilitate people freeing up their human spirit so that they can know who they are," he says. "The world doesn't tell us who we are; the world just says I want money for your insurance, I want money for your car payment, I want money for your groceries. And you better get your butt out there and work for it."
The poet's philanthropic attitude shines through in the time he donates to correctional facilities teaching poetry workshops.
"In the prisons, I feel like those people have a great deal to say, they have a great deal to discover," he says. "Education is the clear path to not returning to prison, and the most important education they can get is about themselves."
Ciletti's utopian ideas are influenced by philosophical viewpoints that for him facilitate a clearer understanding of his own life.
"Plato said, "The unexamined life is not worth living,' and poetry brings together for me body, mind and spirit," he says.
Malcolm McCollum, longtime local professor and the Arts Council's 2006 "Performance Poet of the Year," will join Ciletti. Rounding out the trio is Art Goodtimes, a published poet and essayist who also practices performance poetry; has directed and served as poet-in-residence for the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival for the past 25 years; and is in his third term as the state's first San Miguel County commissioner the first elected commissioner from the Green Party in state history.
Poetry readings by Jim Ciletti, Malcolm McCollum and Art Goodtimes
Smokebrush Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave.
Monday, Nov. 27, 7 p.m.
Call 634-2367 for more information.