We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Peiffer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
All my life I’ve been championed in the arts. I started writing poetry when I was very young and have little notes and cards written in verse from my childhood. My first poem was published in the seventh grade and I was encouraged in leadership in the arts through high school and college. In my adulthood, after I’d taken a year to tour and write, my mother took ill with ovarian cancer and I returned to the East coast to be with family for the duration. She was a woman with a dry sense of humor who when I took a job in youth ministry while sporting 16 visible piercings, embroidered me a shirt that said, “Blessed are the pierced–for they are holey indeed”. On her deathbed, in one of the last times she was able to speak, Mom, completely lucid, looked up at me and stated very directly, “Susan, you can either grow up or become a poet”. I think that made the permanent choice for me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a written and spoken word poet. My poetry is both observational and confessional and I write about moments that I hope evoke emotion and elicit truth. I think my art extends to creating space for others to freely think, talk, and write about what they experience and know also. I spent a number of years teaching Theology at a Catholic high school and had a classroom where curiosity was fostered and there were no questions “off-topic”. Those young people, and the young people I work with now, continue to teach me the urgency and need for prophetic voices–those that announce what is good in the world and denounce what isn’t. I’m humbled to have my voice in that chorus.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Colorado Springs is bursting with the opportunity to experience something new every day. Aside from journeying out of the city and onto the trails, we’d visit Garden of the Gods, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and drive to the top of Pikes Peak. We’d eat at COATI uprise, the Rabbit Hole, and enjoy nights out at ICONS-CO, the best gay piano bar this side of the Mississippi! There are exciting chefs doing tapas menus and we’d stop by Cottonwood Center for the Arts and then YOBEL boutique to shop for some ethical clothing….I hope they didn’t come visit for a restful stay, there’re simply too many galleries and restaurants to try out!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents, my six sibkids, and my spouse of 20+ years, Jesse, are decidedly the reason I’ve been able to pursue my writing and performing diligently and professionally. My parents for never giving me an inkling that art wasn’t a worthwhile endeavor, my partner for his unfailing support and encouragement over good years and bad experiments, and my nieces and nephews for always reminding me of my mission in doing this–to present young people with the permission and the place to share whatever it is they need to say in whatever vernacular they want to use to get it said. There are so many members of the written and spoken word communities in Colorado Springs who have helped create an environment where the weight of words is understood and lifted up. I’m incredibly grateful to all of them.