Aurora Poet Laureate Ahja Fox brings local flavor to Jaipur Literature Fest


When Aurora native Ahja Fox found out this August she was named the poet laureate of her hometown, she was moved to tears.

“Because through my whole writing career all I’ve wanted is a type of position that would allow me to spread poetry even further than I already had,” Fox says. “Having this title allows me to do that.”

Fox plans to use her position as the city’s municipal poetry ambassador to create programs that spread awareness of the form, including organizing readings in unusual forums like dog parks and sporting events. 

Her own poems reflect the artist’s upbringing as a woman of color in Aurora, exploring issues of identity, sexual violence and the mysteries of life and death. In “Proverb 91: Black Girl Reclaims Magic,” she writes: “all my love, blood, and effort has gone off into being; being / just a sharp whistle that reverberates through the spines of all things.”

Fox will be speaking and reading at three sessions during the Jaipur Literature Festival (see page 49).

For her first session at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, Fox will join writers Suzi Q. Smith, Confidence Omenai, Bianca Mikahn and others for “a storytelling sanctuary.” The following day’s 3:45 p.m. session will draw on Fox’s connection to her home city in conversation with inaugural Aurora poet laureate Jovan Mays and emeritus laureate Assétou Xango.

Sunday’s talk will be followed by a 5 p.m. poetry reading featuring Fox alongside 2019 Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre and Indian poet Arundhathi Subramaniam. 

“I feel like any space created to represent a variety of voices, especially underrepresented voices, needs to be encouraged,” Fox says. 

2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, Boulder Public Library Main Branch, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. Tickets: Free (donations encouraged)