WEEKEND: Port Angeles walkabout closes 17-day Raymond Carver festival

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Ray was “a man who was not afraid to be sweet,” in life or poetry.

“He wanted the people he loved to know he loved them.”

So remembered Tess Gallagher, who will take Raymond Carver fans on “A Rouse for Ray,” a kind of walkabout to sites that inspired the writer during his 10 years here.

The traveling reading of Carver poems — to finish with pie for dessert — will start at 11 a.m. and go till about 2 p.m. Saturday, which would have been Carver’s 75th birthday. Fans can join the outing at any of the five stops.

The internationally renowned writer of short stories and poetry was only 50 when he died on Aug. 2, 1988. But if the hundreds of poems he wrote in a house by the Strait of Juan de Fuca are any sign, he lived life well here.

“A Rouse for Ray” is the free culmination of the Raymond Carver Festival, a 17-day celebration created by Gallagher, his widow and the caretaker of his writings. A Port Angeles native, she emphasized that any rain won’t dampen the spirit of the outing.

The “Rouse” route will start at the intersection of the Olympic Discovery Trail and Strait View Drive, just off U.S. Highway 101 near Morse Creek. Shortly after 11 a.m., Carver’s poem about Morse Creek and the Strait, “Where Water Comes Together with Other Water,” will start the readings.

“I love creeks and the music they make,” it begins.

“But the big streams have my heart too.

“And the places streams flow into rivers.

“The open mouths of rivers where they join the sea.”

Then it’s off to the eastside Safeway coffee shop at 2709 E. Highway 101, where a few Carver odes to food and drink will be read.

Things grow romantic at the Jasmine Bistro, 222 N. Lincoln, the site of Carver’s marriage proposal to Gallagher. There, love poems will rule. But at the Cornerhouse, 101 E. Front St., where the couple often shared a booth by the window, poems about the working-class life will be read.

The Port Angeles Marina parking lot on Marine Drive is the next stop, to feature Carver’s “My Boat,” a joyful piece about bringing his loved ones together on board his vessel.

Finally, beside Carver’s grave at Ocean View Cemetery, 3127 W. 18th St., “Gravy” and “Late Fragment,” poems of love and gratitude, will wrap the reading. Then everyone is invited to partake in pie, one of Carver’s favorite foods.

For more details about “A Rouse for Ray,” visit cosponsor Peninsula College’s website, www.PenCol.edu. Fans are also invited to contribute a pie, and can arrange to do so by phoning Helen Lovejoy at 360-417-6362 or Charlotte Warren at 360-683-4589.

At a Carver Festival poetry reading last Monday night at the Port Angeles Library, Gallagher read from Carver’s collection All of Us, and smiled out at her audience of fellow poets and Carver enthusiasts.

“You listeners . . . without you, no fun,” she said. “It’s Ray we’re honoring. And I know he’s here.”

Last modified: May 23. 2013 6:17PM
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