Commemorating the start of Arts Month in the Pikes Peak region, Pikes Peak Library District announced the region’s first Pikes Peak Poet Laureate since 2017.
"Ashley Cornelius is a nationally recognized and award-winning spoken word poet in Colorado. Her poetry has been featured at TEDx Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, the Colorado Springs Women's March, Denver Public Library, Colorado Nonprofit Association, as well as on many stages," a PPLD news release said. "Additionally, she was the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam Colorado Springs representative and competed nationally. A winner of multiple poetry Slams in Colorado Springs, Cornelius was also the Colorado Springs Independent Best of Artist in 2019 and was recognized by the Colorado Springs Business Journal as a Rising Star in 2021. She is sought after across the nation for speaking engagements and workshop facilitation utilizing poetry."
Dustin Booth, project chairman and PPLD manager for Knights of Columbus Hall said, “It is an honor to select Ashley Cornelius to serve as the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate. She will be an incredible ambassador for the arts in the Pikes Peak region and her poetry inspires those who witness her work to think deeper about the roles we all play in our community.”
According to the release, Cornelius was selected through a competitive Poet Laureate application and interview process. The Poet Laureate committee contributed to the selection process and included Andy Vick, executive director, Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region; Susan Peiffer, poet laureate emeritus, Executive Director of Hear Here Poetry; Molly Wingate, executive director, Poetry Heals; Juan J. Morales, CSU Pueblo professor and associate dean, Department of English and World Languages; and Michael Ferguson, poet and UCCS professor.
Cornelius’s 2-year term will begin late October. In this position, she will work closely with PPLD "to build a literary arts community through poetry by developing an appreciation of written and performance poetry, as well as inspiring and celebrating poetry and poets in the Pikes Peak region with dynamic programs of engagement, advocacy, and education," the release said.
“This is an incredible honor, and I am excited to serve as the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate,” Cornelius said. “My intentions are to reach as many people as we can through poetry and storytelling and to be a champion for equity, diversity, and inclusion in our local creative spaces.”
PPLD will host an official inauguration ceremony appointing Cornelius as the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate at a celebration on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Knights of Columbus Hall, part of the Penrose Library campus in Downtown Colorado Springs. The event will start at 6 p.m. and will feature presentations by a few rising stars in the Colorado Springs poetry community, pieces by previous poet laureates and a keynote presentation by Cornelius.
For more information, visit ppld.org/poetlaureate.