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Alice Derry

Alice Derry


Asking is Alice Derry’s sixth full collection of poetry. Her fifth book Hunger appeared from MoonPath Press in 2017. Her fourth book Tremolo appeared from Red Hen in 2012. Tess Gallagher writes of the book: “Tremolo is a tour de force of vibratory power that marks Alice Derry as having come into her own as one of our very best poets.” Strangers to Their Courage (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), was a finalist for the 2002 Washington Book Award. Li-Young Lee writes of Strangers: “This book … asks us to surrender our simplistic ideas about race and prejudice, memory and forgetfulness, and begin to uncover a new paradigm for ‘human.’” Stages of Twilight (Breitenbush, 1986), won the King County Publication Award, chosen by Raymond Carver. Clearwater appeared from Blue Begonia Press in 1997. Derry has three chapbooks: Getting Used to the Body (Sagittarius Press, 1989), Not As You Once Imagined (Trask House, 1993), and translations from the German poet Rainer Rilke (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2002).

Derry’s M.F.A. is from Goddard College (now Warren Wilson). She is Professor Emerita at Peninsula College, Port Angeles, where she directed the Foothills Writers Series for three decades. In 2013, she helped plan the 75th Raymond Carver Birthday Celebration and delivered its keynote address; in 2017, she was Peninsula College’s 17th Writer in Residence. With colleague Kate Reavey, she has also facilitated writing workshops for area tribes. She lives and works on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Alice's Web Site:

Alice and Asking are featured in this article from the Peninsula Daily News.

Alice featured in an article in the Sequim Gazette

Upcoming Reading Dates

Asking: $16.00

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Poem from Asking

A Quarter Note

In the funnel of their leaves 
over the winding canal road,
igniting the firs’ dark hood,
October dusk dropping,
maybe I do feel bigleaf maples’
final shine before the fall.

Maybe I do see a glimpse
of our old life together.
While you drove, smoothing
the car through its curves,
I could listen 
for yellow’s quarter note

in the red’s deep gong.
Risk that. Don’t be silly,
you’d say. But I was,
you there, and I, careful
to hear the music, since anytime
might be the last.


Hunger: $15.00

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Read a review of Hunger by Diane Urbani De La Paz in The Peninsula Daily News.

Poem from Hunger


When the hill’s light is still brass,
you start out on snowshoes,
lunching at the spot gray jays leave the trees
in wing-flutter and hop to your hand—
scarce graze of their claws—
wild’s touch you’ve waited for.

Heads swiveling side to side, they check
for danger before their polished beaks,
without once invading skin,
dart onto as many raisins as they can carry.
Then the birds whirr away—themselves light.

You trek on, but turn back in time
to reach the hill again by mid-afternoon,
winter sun already dipping
to pour white-gold over the snow—
light completed, fading,
but not yet dusk’s steel violet.

In this ripening, shouldering their weighty,
spangled coats, the firs are themselves
revealed, as wings assume air—what spring
will be, sun streaming onto branches,
alchemized green, you—allowed to watch.