‘Writing Raw’ workshop, free reading Sunday at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

Heather June Gibbons to bring poetry, experience for writers of all levels

Heather June Gibbons

Heather June Gibbons

PORT ANGELES — Yes, she still feels a little nervous. No matter that Heather June Gibbons has been revealing her heart to rooms full of people for years now.

Gibbons, a writer and teacher who lives in San Francisco, will offer two events this Sunday at the nonprofit Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

First is a workshop titled “Writing Raw,” and then comes a free, public poetry reading. She’ll pick poems from her prize-winning collection “Her Mouth as Souvenir,” a book fellow poet Simone Muench calls “part garage rock, part requiem, part power ballad.”

Sunday’s workshop from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. is for writers of all levels. For new ones, it’ll provide a safe space to explore the creative process, said Sarah Jane, the fine arts center’s gallery and program director.

At the same time, experienced writers will have the chance to take risks and break new ground.

The cost is $75 while information and registration awaits at PAFAC.org.

“I’m excited about her focus on the unexpected, generative part of the writing process,” said Jane.

In an email, Gibbons explained her approach, saying she loves working with writers of all kinds: poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers and those who mix forms.

Some workshops out there are about going over material that’s already written and receiving critical feedback. That’s fine, she said. But her workshop is different.

“This will be a supportive, fun experience. … You don’t have to have a subject or particular form of writing in mind. We will discover our subjects and possible forms as we go.”

Gibbons loves to use the workshop space in her writing prompts. She’ll have fertile ground at the arts center, with its photography show, “Mothers & Makers” on display in the gallery along with the surrounding Webster’s Woods sculpture park.

With the camaraderie of the workshop, everyone will have a chance to write fresh, raw words, Gibbons said, “and everyone leaves with new material and inspiration.”

Next comes Gibbons’ reading at 5 p.m. Sunday. There’s no admission charge, and the reading will include some newly penned poems along with those from her book.

“I try to use the nervous energy as fuel, and focus on being the vehicle or mouthpiece for the poems themselves,” Gibbons said.

She seeks to take her audience for an interesting ride, with a mix of rhythms, topics and emotions.

“I know when I go to a poetry reading, I enjoy range and variety, so I try to provide that kind of experience.”

Gibbons, who grew up on Bainbridge Island, is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She teaches at San Francisco State University and in the local community.

For more information about Sunday’s events and other Port Angeles Fine Arts Center offerings, call 360-457-3532.

The center is open and free to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

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