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Ishion Hutchinson, center, poses with a crowd of poetry slam goers at Booked on 25th on Tuesday, Sept 20. (Source: Jayrod Garrett)

There was standing room only in Booked on 25th on Sept. 20 as about 30 people gathered to hear poet Ishion Hutchinson read several pieces from his new book “House of Lords and Commons” and his earlier release “Far District.”

While reading his poems to the crowd, Hutchinson emphasized that his poems are heavily influenced by his time growing up in Jamaica.

Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, but is no stranger to Utah. “For me, this is a return to Utah,” Hutchinson said, “I got my doctorate at the University of Utah. It was important as a self-discovery in my time there.”

Hutchinson discussed the technique he used in becoming a poet. “Part of the poet’s quest is self-discovery. It’s a process of inquiry and asking questions,” he said. He also mentioned that his time in Salt Lake City helped him develop his voice as he surrounded himself in the culture.

Several students from WSU’s English department attended Hutchinson’s reading.

“There’s a rapid undercurrent in Ogden City of people who need to hear his voice,” Marcy Rizzi, owner of Booked on 25th, said. “Plus, there’s nothing better than hearing a poet read their own poetry.”

Hutchinson’s reading was one of several activities happening in conjunction with the 19th Annual Utah Humanities Book Festival. However, this is the first year that high-profile events are being hosted in Ogden.

“I’ve grown up around here, and there’s never been anything like this,” Booked on 25th manager Amanda Johnson said. She said the store is “a community we’re creating for book lovers.”

Growing the community is one of Booked on 25th’s main goals. “There’s something about a community coming to see this kind of person that is really special,” Rizzi said.

Booked on 25th also recognizes the importance of a literary community for college students who want to pursue a career in writing. “For students who are going into any kind of writing,” Rizzi said, “this place is a great springboard to showcase their work to people.”

More events like this will be happening in Ogden over the next few weeks for the Utah Humanities Book Festival. For more details on upcoming events, visit the Utah Humanities website.

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