Poet Laureate Inauguration Event

Congratulations, Ashley Cornelius

In celebration of Arts Month 2021, community members are invited to attend the official inauguration of our new Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, Ashley Cornelius, on Saturday, October 23, from 6-7PM at the PPLD Knights of Columbus Hall in downtown Colorado Springs. The event is free and open to the public, and is part of the annual Poetry719 Festival.

“I think I wanted to be the poet laureate really to diversify what poetry looks like. Poetry is largely super academic. It is largely a little bit older in age, and typically pretty white. And so as a younger black woman in this field, I wanted to just create more representation for poetry in the community. I also grew up here and have a really strong devotion to just making Colorado Springs a more safe and open space for folks.”
— Ashley Cornelius

The evenings activities will be emceed by former Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, Susan Peiffer. The program will feature:

  • Opening remarks by Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) Chief Librarian & CEO, John Spears
  • Performances by local poets (TBD)
  • Past Poet Laureate Performances by Price Strobridge, Aaron Anstett (invited), and Susan Peiffer
  • Installation Ceremony, and performance by Poet Laureate, Ashley Cornelius 

Following the inauguration event, Poetry719 will host a Silent Disco in honor of the new Poet Laureate, starting at 9PM. Tickets are $10/person. For questions, please email poetry719info@gmail.com.

The Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is proud to be the administrator for the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate program. The Poet Laureate builds a literary arts community through poetry by developing an appreciation of written and performance poetry, and by inspiring and celebrating poetry and poets in the Pikes Peak region with dynamic programs of engagement, advocacy, and education.

Ashley Cornelius is a nationally recognized and award-winning spoken word poet in Colorado. Ashley has won multiple poetry Slams in Colorado Springs. She was the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam Colorado Springs representative and competed nationally. She is a Colorado Business Journal Rising Star class of 2021. Ashley was the Colorado Springs Independent Best of Artist in 2019. She has been featured at TEDx Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, the Colorado Springs Women’s March, Denver Public Library, Colorado Nonprofit Association, along with many other venues and stages. Her poetry focuses on empowerment, self-care, body positivity, intersectionality, and systemic oppression. Ashley is sought after across the nation for speaking engagements and workshop facilitation utilizing poetry. She is recognized for her work around domestic violence, sexual assault, self-love, self-care, mental health, and racial equity. Ashley is an experienced host and workshop facilitator and loves bringing poetry to unique spaces and venues. Ashley is the Co-Director of Poetry719, a local Black-run poetry group lifting the voices of marginalized communities and BIPOC folks through creative self-expression and art. Ashley’s poems reflect her struggles and journey as a young black woman and aim to inspire, empower, evoke change. Ashley is committed to using poetry as a platform to speak up and out for marginalized groups and be a voice for those who have been silenced.
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