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Poet Laureate highlights Hood River Reads events

The Hood River County Reads project brings Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen to Hood River April 6.

Peterson will read her poetry and share thoughts on reading and writing poems at the Hood River Library on Sunday, from 2-4 p.m. in the library’s main floor reading room.

Hood River County Reads revolves around the Stafford book “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems,” copies of which are being made available at no charge to anyone who wants one, at any library branch.

Hood River Reads project expanded this year to art and theater.

Art exhibits by the students in Amirra Malak’s AP art class at Hood River Valley High School and Gorge Photography Club that examine Stafford’s work are on display at the library.

So will the top three posters in a poster contest that was part of HRVHS art teacher Cathy Stever’s class. They are: first place, Alonso Magana; second, Erica Silva; third, Ahnauna Andrews. Magana’s poster has been copied and can be seen posted around Hood River County.

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Paulann Petersen, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, has written five chapbooks and six full-length books. The latest, “Understory,” was published in 2013. Her poems have appeared in many publications including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner and the Internet’s Poetry Daily and have been selected for “Poetry in Motion,” a project that places poems on buses and light rail cars in the Portland area.

A gifted teacher with a missionary zeal for language, Petersen received the Stewart Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon’s Literary Life in 2006. She taught high school English in West Linn and Klamath Falls for many years and continues to teach poetry workshops at colleges, libraries and writers’ conferences. She also serves on the board of the Friends of William Stafford.

This program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Hood River County Library District at 541-386-2535 or info@hoodriverlibrary.org or visit hoodriverlibrary.org. The event is sponsored by the Hood River County Library District and Friends of the Library.

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On April 13, 2-3:30 p.m., Los Portenos Theater of Portland presents “Words that Burn,” a dramatization of the World War II experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, both Conscientious Objectors, and U.S. Marine Guy Gabaldon, who worked to convince Japanese soldiers to surrender rather than kill themselves.

Other upcoming Hood River Reads events include a memoir-writing workshop on April 16 by Kim Stafford, William’s son and author of the 2013 book “100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do,” at Hood River Library. Stafford will give a memoir writing workshop on April 16; sign-ups start Sunday.

In addition to “Ask Me,” there are several books by and about Stafford for people to enjoy. “The Osage Orange Tree” highlights Stafford’s skill with prose as well as poetry.

Kim Stafford will be giving a public reading at Hood River Library on Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m. This project is sponsored by the Friends of the Hood River County Library.

Kids can join in on Hood River County Reads this year with “Everyone Out Here Knows,” Stafford’s poem about Bigfoot. If you’d like to learn more about Stafford’s thoughts on war, try “Every War has Two Losers.”

Hood River County Reads is sponsored and supported by the Friends of the Hood River County Library, with additional support from the Starseed Foundation, Hood River County Education Foundation, Hood River County Library Foundation, Hood River County Cultural Trust, and generous individuals.

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