Five Minutes with Todd Simmons

Books? Beer? Poetry? Check.

Wolverine Farm opened as a publishing house in 2002 and ran a bookstore at the Bean Cycle for 12 years. Since opening their publick house on Willow Street, the organization has branched into community events and refreshments. The thread that runs through all these ventures is Todd Simmons, Wolverine Farm founder.

What drove you to build a publick house?

Over the years, looking for space around town to do book release parties or poetry readings . . .we grew tired of searching for that perfect space and just decided to make it ourselves.

Tell me about the quote on the wall.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog . . . [and 18 other skills]. Specialization is for insects.” It’s from a Robert Heinlein book. We wanted to embody that idea of the importance of a well-rounded character in a book.

That’s why we do such a variety of programming, to showcase a lot of the different talent/skills that exist in Fort Collins. Everything from a lumberjack contest back in January to our funny animal competitions coming up this summer.

Like Prettiest Chicken contest, the pop-up petting zoo?

Yes. We’re trying to do our part to keep the culture of FC bubbling.

Is FC a literary town?

Yeah. I think so. The literary arts do tend to get overshadowed by music and some of the visual arts. There are so many writers here. . . from journalists to copy writers to business writers, science writers  . . .  hundreds and hundreds. Even after having run a bookstore for 12 years downtown and a publishing company for almost 15, I’m always amazed that I continue to meet new writers.

What does your mission mean, “to mindfully engage humans with the world”?

As writers and poets, we’re really trying to think deeply and critically about our actions and definitely our words. And to not just take for granted because of entitlement or privilege . . . to really fully engage all the senses and all the powers of critical thinking and to try to make more informed decisions about moving forward as individuals and then also as a society.

It can get a little bit self-righteous at some level. You know that’s something we’ve always tried to downplay to some degree because progressives and do-gooders can cause just as much harm as any mindless, reckless oaf. Part of [our motivation] is a belief in living life to the fullest. And squeezing out every drop of passion and joy and appreciation for being alive.

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