Peninsula poets to read Thursday in Port Townsend

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Two women known for the candor of their poetry will come together Thursday.

Tess Gallagher, whose latest book is Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems, and Alice Derry, author of the new Tremolo, will share their writing in a free reading at the Northwind Arts Center, 2409 Jefferson St.

The 7 p.m. event is part of Northwind’s public poetry series.

Midnight Lantern’s title comes from a belief Gallagher has: A poem, she feels, can shine light into one’s life during a dark time.

‘Spiritual strength’

“Poetry for me is spiritual strength,” Gallagher has said.

Gallagher, who grew up in Port Angeles, is a longtime friend of Derry, who taught writing at Peninsula College for 29 years and helped establish the Foothills Writers Series, which brings poets and novelists to the campus for free public events.

Derry’s new book follows Strangers to Their Courage, a finalist for the 2002 Washington Book Award. Courage “asks us to surrender our simplistic ideas about race and prejudice, memory and forgetfulness, and begin to uncover a new paradigm for ‘human,’” fellow poet Li-Young Lee wrote.

Derry’s works

Derry’s books and chapbooks also include 2002’s Translations of Rainer Rilke’s New Poems and her own poetry collections Getting Used to the Body (1989), Not as You Once Imagined (1993) and Stages of Twilight, winner of the King County Publication Award chosen by Raymond Carver.

Derry published it in 1986, long before Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series appeared.

When Tremolo came out earlier this year, Gallagher praised it, calling the book “a tour de force of vibratory power.”

Derry, for her part, added that Tremolo’s title is a reference to a musical sound that evokes trembling.

In her poems, she explores “the trembling of our lives . . . and how we have to face that and get steady from it.”

Seasoned travelers

Derry and Gallagher are both seasoned travelers as well as poets who love to share their work.

At readings, “people ask really interesting questions,” Derry has said.

“Even though poetry seems like a solitary activity,” she added, “in the sharing of it, it’s a community act.”

For more details about Derry’s and Gallagher’s appearance and other free activities at the Northwind Arts Center, phone Northwind reading series coordinator Bill Mawhinney at 360-437-9081.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 13. 2012 5:47PM
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