Maggie's Minute May 21: A Colorado Humanities Update

The darling buds of May!

Thirty-one days of May, and every one of them special to someone, from International Labor Day, World Fair Trade Day and World No Tobacco Day to Gold Spike Day, the Indianapolis 500-and even Towel Day. Burgoo and Mint Juleps. It's no wonder we call the month merry.

The annual 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, established in 1972, is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual and public achievement in the humanities. This spring, poet, essayist, farmer and conservationist Wendell Berry delivered the lecture, titled "It All Turns On Affection." The author of more than 45 books of poems, essays, short stories and novels, Mr. Berry has spent his career meditating on our relationship and responsibility to the land and community. "To imagine is to see most clearly, familiarly, and understandingly with the eyes, but also to see inwardly, with 'the mind's eye' ... we must give up at once any notion that imagination is disconnected from reality or truth or knowledge," he said during the lecture. In his feature story in the May/June Humanities magazine, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman writes that Wendell Berry "combines the qualities of being literate and down to earth; well educated and unpretentious; demanding and humble; country and sophisticated."

By the way, NEH is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Lecture. Have any ideas?

Don't forget to take a look at the finalists, selected from 170 competing Colorado authors, of our 2012 Colorado Book Awards. If you don't have your summer reading list yet, look no more. Here you'll find 40 titles, some of the best and the brightest. Remember, too, that we'll celebrate these authors, together with the award-winners in 12 literary categories, during our Friday, June 22 award ceremony at 1 pm in Aspen at the Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows. Tickets are still available. Give us a call at (303) 894-7951 or fill out our online form.

More great reading can be found in our 2012 Student Literary Awards Anthology, the winning work of our student competitions, Letters About Literature and River of Words. As you may already know, we presented perfect-bound, full-color anthologies to each winning-student at our award ceremony earlier this month. I encourage you to pick up a copy for an inspiring read. What you may not know is that we also produced similar anthologies for our Writers in the Schools students at 11 schools. All around, a wonderful year for young writers and artists.

This month during the 2012 REACH Education Conference: Reach for Literacy, May 31-June 1, our program coordinator, Kim Turner, will lead two workshop sessions about Motheread/Fatheread Colorado. She will also, with our director of operations, Brynda Shingles, host the breakfast both days, so if you're registered for the conference, make sure you stop by for a good-morning hello. Several finalists in our 2012 Colorado Book Awards will also be guest readers at various points during the two days. The Reach for Literacy conference, designed by the Seattle-based nonprofit REACH (Respecting Ethnic And Cultural Heritage) for educators, administrators, parents, literacy advocates and middle and high school students, will be at the King Center on the Auraria campus. Attendees will explore the value of reading readiness, culturally relevant literature and important early literacy and family curricula, such as Motheread/Fatheread Colorado.

Great news, if you're yearning for a delightful documentary on Colorado history, Havey Production's Centennial Statehouse: Colorado's Greatest Treasure will be shown during the Breckenridge Festival of Film on June 10. Centennial Statehouse premiered this February during a major snowstorm. Nevertheless, folks turned out, and the proceeds from the premiere are helping us distribute the film to every public library in the state (we'll complete that project this fall).

In honor of the launch of our membership program this year, we've created a new item to share with our extended Colorado Humanities family-the Colorado Humanities pin. The die-cast, four-color, hard enamel jewel of a pin is embossed with our logo, which, with its two celebratory silhouettes, hand-in-hand, illustrates what it means to be human and the essence of building bridges. We'll be pin-spotting, and hope to see it everywhere, so make sure you have one on!

Maggie Coval

Executive Director