Culture warrior 

Ramon Del Castillo's most trusted weapon: the written word

When Ramon Del Castillo tells me he's considering performing PoeJazz at his upcoming poetry reading, I get a visual of a pasty, beret-wearing alcoholic free-associating on "The Raven." But that's not what Castillo has in mind.

PoeJazz, a term coined by the Lou Malandra Trio in Denver, is a fusion of poetry and jazz. Castillo has been dabbling in it for a while now, and says whether he'll treat a Springs audience to a performance depends "on what my spirit tells me."

Jazz or no jazz (or PoeJazz), Castillo will read from his latest book, Tales from a Michoacano, as well as newer poems from a forthcoming work he calls Quetzals are not Extinct. Castillo says many of the works he will be reading are "about cultural survival, cultural battles in society, and the resiliency of the culture. [They are] also about some of the slices of life that I've gone through, and I've put them into poetic form."

Castillo is a leader in the Hispanic community, often speaking and writing for the human and civil rights of Latinos, both through his poetry, and through his work as a journalist for El Semanario in Denver.

"[My work is] about creating a better world," he says. "It's about surviving. It's about a political framework that we have to deal with within society."

Castillo believes in the power of writing to transform that society.

"Many times throughout history, poets have been ostracized and punished, but they continue to write. You can destroy people, but you can't destroy the written word, once it's in place. It stays, and there are people who remember it."


Ramon del Castillo reading, part of CC's Visiting Writers Series

Slocum Commons, 130 E. Cache la Poudre St.

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Free; for more, visit coloradocollege.edu.


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