As his email
signature will tell you, Bobby LeFebre is many things — word architect,
performer and cultural worker, to name just a few.
And as of
July, he’s Colorado’s eighth poet laureate. But he’s certainly not a literary
eminence out of central casting.
find his works splayed on a page inside a bound volume lost on a shelf. And
he’s not a wordsmith who versifies between hushed readings before small circles
a spoken-word artist whose works you’ll hear and feel as they pulsate around a
packed auditorium. He’s a University College alumnus whose YouTube clips and
social media posts you’ll populate with expressive emojis. And at 37, he’s the
state’s youngest poet laureate ever — not to mention its first poet laureate of
pretty excited that the governor and the selection team decided to do something
different,” Bobby says. “I think poets laureate of the past — not only here but
in cities all over the nation — have traditionally been [drawn from] a small
representation of what constitutes poetry and what poetry can mean. To take it
from this heady academic tradition to a newer aesthetic and approach, I thought
was very bold.”
still figuring out just how he wants his four-year term as laureate to unfold,
but his plans all hinge on inclusivity.
“I want to
center, elevate and amplify marginalized voices — voices that have
traditionally been left out of this position, voices that have not been
reached, stories that have been undertold,” he says.
By the time
Bobby enrolled at DU in the Arts and Culture Management program, he had emerged
as a driving force in Denver’s alternative poetry scene, winning major slam
poetry awards and founding Café Cultura, a nonprofit cultivating the creative
voices of youths from Latino and indigenous populations.
Bobby credits a lot of his occupational dexterity — “I am a rare mix of artist, arts administrator and culture worker,” he says — to University College. For one thing, he studied with outgoing poet laureate Joseph Hutchison, who also serves as the academic director for the Professional Creative Writing and Arts and Culture Management programs. For another, he embraced opportunities to hone his skills in arts administration and promotion. By the time he graduated in 2013, he had learned to be a better wordsmith and a better advocate and activist.
“I wear many hats in culture, and the program was designed in a way in which I was able to further my education in all those different areas,” Bobby said. “I want to use this position to bring others along on this crazy journey.”
Learn more about our arts and writing programs at universitycollege.du.edu.
Story by Tamara Chapman | Photo by Amanda Piela