Poetry Reading: Tess Gallagher and Paulann Petersen
Annie Bloom's welcomes two wonderful poets, Tess Gallagher and Paulann Petersen, for a joint reading from their latest collections.
Tess Gallagher's new collection, Is, Is Not, upends our notions of linear time, evokes the spirit and sanctity of place, and hovers daringly at the threshold of what language can nearly deliver while offering alternative corollaries as gifts of its failures. Tess Gallagher’s poems reverberate with the inward clarity of a bell struck on a mountaintop. Guided by humor, grace, and a deep inquiry into the natural world, every poem nudges us toward moments of awe. How else except by delight and velocity would we discover the miracle within the ordinary? Gallagher claims many Wests—the Northwest of America, the Northwest of Ireland, and a West even further to the edge, beyond the physical. These landscapes are charged with invisible energies and inhabited by the people, living and dead, who shape Gallagher’s poems and life. Restorative in every sense, Is, Is Not is the kind of book that takes a lifetime to write—a book of the spirit made manifest by the poet’s unrelenting gaze and her intimate engagement with the mysteries that keep us reaching.
Southwest Portland poet Paulann Petersen's latest collection, One Small Sun, takes readers from a fur shop in Oregon to a Hyderabadi shrine in India’s subcontinent. Its pages contain a meditation on post-mortem photographs, an ode to the female earwig, an elegy for a grandmother’s panache. Tapping deeply into memory, relying on poetry’s ability to bring alive again what is coded into the blood, these poems ultimately form an arc of an aging woman’s life. This collection tells the tales of what she has always realized, is ever learning, but—only through poetry’s vehicle—can truly know. Petersen's previous collections include: Kindle (Mountains and Rivers Press, 2008), The Voluptuary (Lost Horse Press, 2010), and Understory (Lost Horse Press, 2013).