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Making poetry exciting

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By Kirsten Laskey

To some, poetry might not spark enthusiasm or produce more snores than cheers but poet Erika Wurth is working to change people’s attitudes toward the art form.

In her collection of poetry, titled “Indian Trains,” which was published in October from the New Mexico University’s West End Press, Wurth honors those closest to her, her family and community.

Growing up outside of Denver, Wurth, who is Native American and has blood ties to the Apache, Chicksaw and Cherokee tribes, writes about urban Indians who are living away from the reservations.

This includes her mother, her mother’s siblings, as well as thieves, prostitutes, train stealers, drug dealers, loners, jerks and dreaming alcoholics.

She describes the poems as “portraits of my family and community.”

And even though the people she has met and those in her family may be hard to understand, “I wanted to honor them,” Wurth said.

Wurth will be reading from the collection during the Authors Speak series at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mesa Public Library.

During the reading, people may not be hearing nursery rhymes, but Wurth said “poetry can be enjoyed and be joyful even if it is sad and mysterious.”

Her reason behind turning to writing is rather mysterious, she said.


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