The First Draft Writers’ Series at the Pendleton Center for the Arts will remain Zoom based for February, inviting poet David Pickering to the virtual stage on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.. The event is free and open to everyone.
Pickering is a native of the north Oregon coast and has lived his entire life in Oregon. His poetry has been featured in a variety of publications including the Raven Chronicles, Gold Man Review, Verseweavers, Listening to Poetry, Portland Review, Gertrude Journal, in the anthology Salt: A Collection of Poetry on the Oregon Coast, and online at NonBinary Review. Because Pickering earns his living as a human resources director, he makes time on Saturdays to write in the best coffee shop he can find. He and currently live in The Dalles,
While he doesn’t like to be thought of as a gay poet, living as a gay man and growing up gay in a small working-class town is a theme that runs through his book. Other themes include aging, spirituality, and humor.
Poetry is often thought of as having a very narrow audience, and Pickering was recently asked about this.
“I don’t think strong poetic craft and accessible work are mutually exclusive things,” he said. “A lot of folks turn up their noses at poetry because they think it’s hard to understand or it’s written for those who have an advanced degree in literature. My work uses everyday language and humor to “humanize” the poetry while illustrating some tough truths about the world.”
Pickering will read from his new book Jesus Comes to Me as Judy Garland, which explores themes of sexual orientation, spirituality, family, and aging, often using smart humor and sharp observation. The book’s publisher, Airlie Press, describes the poems as, “…much like the old Cadillacs that Pickering clearly loves, big and powerful and roomy, and…full of interesting companions kibitzing in the back seat—Bette Davis, Bob Ross, Judy Garland, Lucille Clifton, Marlene Dietrich, Vincent Van Gogh, and yes, Jesus.”
This collection is an affirmation of spirit and the variety of ways it manifests in the contemporary world.
Those wishing to join the First Draft Zoom session can sign up to receive a link at PendletonArts.org/FirstDraft. More information is available by calling 541-310-7413, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at PendletonArts.org.