Christopher Lane

Poetry reading connects community

Christopher Lane, "The Poet of Sedona," returned to Yuma this semester, this time for an evening reading of his poetry at the Coffee Bean near the Crescent Center. Earlier in the day he held a workshop at the Arizona Western College main campus.

Lane read poems about events and people that have affected his life -- a bus trip in Israel, Hurricane Katrina, an old girlfriend, his father, his wife and his children. Occasionally Lane would halt the proceedings to joke about the noise of the espresso machine or the smoothie blender.

"I can compete," he quipped, "but not with both of them at once."

After Laneës reading, the mike was open to the audience, and ten members of the audience shared their poetry, including Ric Jahna and David Coy, AWC's present and past creative writing professors. Several of Jahna's students read their work, as did some small children.

Lane advised those in attendance "to be curators of your culture." He encourages poets to document their lives with poetry, preserving and passing on culture using words, word-pictures and emotions.

Lane's own poetry reflects his search for meaning in life. He has competed in Poetry Slams, published in various literary reviews and written four books of poems. His specialty, as he forcefully demonstrated at this event, is performance poetry.

Lane is the executive director of NORAZ Poets, a nonprofit poetry organization based in Northern Arizona, which focuses on projects serving youth and also serving senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The event, one of many sponsored by the AWC Writing School, provided a vehicle for Lane's powerful poetry and a platform for talented poets in our own community to come together and share words and companionship.

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