Fort Collins’s Literary Scene Just Got Larger
Todd Simmons has been the forefront of Fort Collins’s literary scene for over a decade. Back in 2002, he began Matterzine, a local newspaper that published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and community writing. In 2005, Simmons founded Wolverine Farm, a nonprofit literary/ arts organization. For those of you who don’t already know, Wolverine Farm Publishing is a 501(c)3 non-profit literary/arts organization based in Fort Collins, Colorado. It publishes books, newspapers, online content, and it runs a bookstore inside The Bean Cycle Coffee Shop.
While Wolverine Farm has grown tremendously over the past decade, Simmons has just launched his most ambitious project to date—a Letterpress and Publick House. (http://www.wolverinefarm.org/brick-mortar/letterpress-publick-house/ )The beautifully renovated building at 316 Willow Street is home to several letterpresses, including a Vandercook SP15 previously owned by Colorado State University. Simmons hired Jessica Crouch (http://www.wolverinefarm.org/about/staff/jessicaowingscrouch/) as Wolverine’s letterpress printer, and she’s been hard at work setting up the printshop and printing beautiful broadsides for the past few months. The English Department has already taken advantage of Crouch’s talent; she designed and printed “Tropos,” a collaborative poem written by Dan Beachy-Quick, Matthew Cooperman, Camille Dungy and myself in commemoration of the English Department’s return to Eddy Hall.
According to Simmons, the building on Willow will be Wolverine Farm’s “new headquarters and workspace, but one that has a working print shop, bar, and event hall inside…programming will focus on [the organization’s] mission of mindful engagement with the world around us, and more specifically on craft and community.”
On Friday, November 20, 2015, Wolverine Farm Publishing held the official opening of its Letterpress & Publick House. The event showcased local food, local drinks, local poetry and local music. The sold-out event was packed, and the Fort Collins Poet Laureate, Aby Kaupang (http://www.abykaupang.com) , kicked off festivities with a poetry reading. Ms. Kaupang is a 2007 almuna of Colorado State University’s MFA program, as well as the author of Little “g” God Grows Tired of Me, Absence is Such a Transparent House and Scenic Fences | Houses Innumerable. After Ms. Kaupang’s stunning reading, the crowd was treated to music from the band Souvenir Thread (http://souvenirthread.com)
Community support was evident in the throngs of attendees. Local brewery, Odell’s Brewing, also provided a small batch beer, dubbed the “M56”, which takes its name from the only Wolverine found in Colorado. “M56” was the name given to the wolverine who migrated to Colorado in June 2009, becoming the first wolverine in Colorado since 1919. As far as we know “M56” is alive and well here in Colorado. And so is the Fort Collins’s literary scene, in large part thanks to Simmons’s indefatigable devotion to our community.
To find out more about Wolverine Farm publishing, check out their website, http://www.wolverinefarm.org, or visit in person for some coffee and camaraderie at 316 Willow Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524.
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