Poetry reading at White Salmon library Feb. 7

The public is invited to join state and local writers for a poetry reading at the White Salmon Valley Community Library on Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the library’s Sprint/Baker Gallery. Readers will include poet and teacher Christopher Howell, of Eastern Washington University’s Inland NW Center for Writers in Spokane, joined by poet and writer Debra Pennington-Davis and writer Frank See, both of White Salmon. Pennington-Davis will be reading her own poetry and See will be reading poems written by his late wife Molly, a highly regarded area poet, who was also from the greater White Salmon community. The event, planned in connection with Howell’s Washington Artist Trust Fellowship awarded in 2014, is free and open to the public and will include a question and answer session after the reading portion of the program.

As a recipient of a Washington Artist Trust Fellowship awarded in 2014, Howell is requested to hold a literary event in a community outside his immediate area of residence. Said Howell, “I was thinking about where I should do this and it occurred to me that, in all my years in the Northwest, I had never done anything literary anywhere along the Columbia River. I got out a map, looked it over, and said, ‘There, White Salmon, that would be just right.’”

Christopher Howell was born in Portland, and attended Pacific Lutheran and Oregon State universities. He was a Navy journalist during the Vietnam War and afterward earned graduate degrees from Portland State University and the University of Massachusetts. The most recent of his ten full-length collections of poems are Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012), and Dreamless and Possible: Poems New & Selected (University of Washington Press, 2010). He has received two National Endowment Fellowships, fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Washington Artist Trust, and three Pushcart Prizes. He has twice received the Washington State Book Award and was also honored with the Nebraska Book Award for his book on the poet Weldon Kees. For 39 years he has been principal editor for Lynx House Press, and in 2006 was awarded the Stanley W. Lindberg Award for Editorial Excellence in recognition of this long service. Howell has taught at nine universities, including Willamette University and Whitman College. He has been on the MFA faculty at Eastern since 1996, where he also continues as Director and principal editor for Lynx House Press and for EWU’s Willow Springs Editions. About his writing Christopher Howell has said, “Poetry, for me, is the only means of reconciling the objective, everyday world with the inner life, the ego with the self. In that reconciliation, that enactment, it seems to me very like worship: a humane and primary response. If I felt otherwise, it would not be worth doing.”

Debra Pennington-Davis is an Alaskan poet currently living in White Salmon, who has taught in the Alaskan Bush and as a college professor. She has more recently been teaching for exciting ventures like The Gorge Writing Project and Peace Village. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Muse Strikes Back (Story Line Press), Whatever It Takes: Women on Women’s Sport (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and other anthologies and periodicals. She has served as senior associate editor of the award-winning Alaska Quarterly Review. Debra’s work is deeply connected to the complexities of family relationships and to life in the far north.

Frank See, a long-time resident of White Salmon, was for many years professor of literature and writing at Wenatchee Valley College. He received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, where he and Christopher Howell were classmates and friends. He has published stories and articles in a number of periodicals. For more information about this and other library programs, services and resources, call the library 509-493-1132 or visit the Fort Vancouver Regional Library home page fvrl.org.

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