CHIMACUM — Whether riding waves or penning poetry, author Matt Nienow of Port Townsend enjoys exploring the world around him physically and then setting his thoughts to paper.
Nienow, from 5 to 7 tonight, will give a reading from his new book, “House of Water,” a collection of poetry, at the Finnriver Cider Garden, 124 Center Road, Chimacum.
“This book belongs entirely to my life here in Port Townsend. From my first days at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, to building a home out on South Discovery, these poems integrate and work to capture one version of life on the Peninsula.”
The Finnriver Cider Garden is located in the Finnriver Orchard, a historic former dairy farm that has been renovated to establish an organic farm and apple orchard, a working farm collaborative, a public tasting room and a farm-based community gathering place for people of all ages, according to www.finnriver.com.
Cider will be available for purchase during the reading, with a 20 percent discount on bottles given to patrons who own a copy of “House of Water” and happy hour pricing on cider pours, according to a news release.
Books will be available for purchase.
“House of Water” — published by Alice James Books of Farmington, Maine — marks Nienow’s debut on the poetry scene.
It highlights fatherhood at its peak as it juggles the uncertainty and deeper meaning of everyday life, according to www.matthew nienow.com.
Nienow lives in Port Townsend with his wife and two sons, and designs and builds high-end wooden paddle boards at his shop, Good Story Paddle Boards, 151 Otto St.
Each board features an excerpt from a poem or story, “helping to offer inspiration out on the water,” Nienow said.
He has featured lines from Walt Whitman, E.E. Cummings and Barbara Kingsolver, as well as work from up-and-coming contemporary writers.
Nienow said his new poetry collection explores boat building as much as it works over fatherhood and what it means “to be a man, with no money, suddenly concerned only with money.”
Nienow said he isn’t afraid to tackle the dark subjects of loneliness and failure, but he doesn’t linger there without working to find redemption, seeing his sons as “two bright chances at my side, burning blonde in the sun.”
Nienow’s work has appeared in such publications as Poetry Northwest, New England Review and Poetry magazine, the latter of which awarded him a 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.
The $15,000 scholarship was intended to encourage further study and writing of poetry.
Nienow also was recognized with a 2011 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2012 Fellowship from Artist Trust of Washington State.
He received a master of fine arts degree from the University of Washington and a degree in Traditional Small Craft from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.
Throughout the past several years, Nienow has read his poems all over the country, including readings in Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles.
He officially launched his new book at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle on Nov. 16.
From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 16, Nienow will offer a book-signing at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. During the signing, one of Nienow’s paddle boards will be on display.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.