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Alice Derry

Alice Derry

Hunger

Alice's Web Site

Alice Derry has an 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.

Hunger is Alice Derry’s fifth full collection of poetry. Tess Gallagher writes of Alice's fourth book Tremolo (Red Hen, 2012): “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). 

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

Hunger: $15.00

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Poem from Hunger

Exalted

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.