Studium Generale reading to give glimpse into new book

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College English Professor Emeritus Alice Derry will read from her newest collection of poems, Tremolo, at Peninsula College’s Studium Generale program Thursday.

The free reading will begin at 12:35 p.m. in the college’s Little Theater at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., in Port Angeles.

Derry was a faculty member at Peninsula College for 29 years. She taught English and German, and also co-directed the Foothills Writers’ Series.

Tremolo, released in September by Red Hen Press, has been praised by critics.

Lucia Perillo, a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Inseminating the Elephant, said: “Alice Derry’s poems exert their force in two directions. One is outward. They show us how the personal drama of family is connected to the larger drama of history.

“But they also dig inward, through the surface cordialities to reveal the layers of our lives that are like music, fluttering between the sharp and flat and true.”

Canadian poet Lorna Crozier, who is the head chair in the writing department at the University of Victoria, said: “Alice Derry’s poems are small, daring miracles of knowing.

“She looks at the natural world and the human family so unflinchingly that she discovers, with sad precision, the beauty and frailty of our connections to what we love.

“She tackles the most difficult of subjects with a breathtaking honesty and fearlessness. I have come to depend upon her poems to shake up what I think I know, to move me from an accepted, comfortable opinion into an intellectual field of dazzling complexity.”

Fourth volume

Tremolo is Derry’s fourth volume of poetry. Last year, she was awarded a 2011 GAP grant from Artist Trust Washington to assist with the book’s publication.

Derry’s third volume, Strangers to Their Courage, was a finalist for the 2002 Washington Book Award and was published by Louisiana State University Press.

In addition to poems, the manuscript also contains a lengthy introductory essay.

Her second collection, Clearwater, was published in 1997, and her first manuscript, Stages of Twilight, was chosen by Raymond Carver as the 1986 King County (Seattle) Arts Publication Award winner.

In 1988, Derry was awarded an individual artist fellowship from the Washington State Arts Commission.

A chapbook, Getting Used to the Body, was released in 1989. A second chapbook, Not as You Once Imagined, was published in 1993.

It was followed in 2002 by Translations of Rainer Rilke’s New Poems, which contains 11 of Derry’s translations from the German poet Rainer Rilke.

Derry’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times.

In 1996, she was awarded the Washington Community and Technical College Humanities Association Exemplary Status Award for her work in poetry — both for her own and for the promotion of others’.

In February 2005, she was named poet-in-residence at the biennial conference of the National Association for Humanities Education, and she has been chosen four times to present at the Skagit River Poetry Festival in La Conner.

In 2011, Derry received the Exemplary Status Award from the Washington Community College Humanities Association for her work for Peninsula College’s Foothills Writers’ Series.

Carmen Germain, who is also a Peninsula College English professor emeritus, was recognized as well.

For information on other upcoming events, visit or

Last modified: November 29. 2012 5:47PM
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