Carver Festival | Writers-in-Residence Readings, Reception are May 15 Highlights

Community residents will have a unique opportunity to hear and meet Peninsula College’s Writers in Residence in two separate venues and attend a writing workshop, all on Wednesday, May 15, as the Raymond Carver Festival continues at Peninsula College.

The first event will be a 12:35 pm reading by PC Writer-in-Residence Lucia Perillo, who will read from her newest book, On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths, in Maier Performance Hall.

An Open Writing Workshop follows at 1:30 pm in the Peninsula College Longhouse. It will be led by Alice Derry and Kate Reavey.

The day’s events will be capped by a special Reading featuring Tess Gallagher and Writers-in-Residence Jane Mead and Lucia Perillo at 7:00 pm in the college’s Little Theater. The three will discuss Carver’s life and work, share memories, and read poems and stories, both their own and Raymond Carver’s. 

The reading celebrates the Raymond Carver display in the PUB Art Gallery (just outside the Little Theater), which features paintings by Alfredo Arreguin and his wife Susan R. Lytle, close friends of Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher; photos from Tess’s private collection having to do with Carver’s life and their life together; and mounted prints of poems and story excerpts. At the reading, Gallagher will share some stories about the items in the display. 

Immediately following the reading, audience members are invited to join the writers and Peninsula College English faculty for a reception in the gallery.

Foothills Reading

Copper Canyon Press says Perillo’s poems “swerve and leap and run with the possibility that our final slip on the banana peel will be a giddy ride into the wild blue yonder, even as they acknowledge that this prospect is willfully naive. With subjects that range across history, from the epic heroes of ancient Greece. . .to the competition between an invasive plant species and a strip mall, Perillo's poems are formally braided while gathering strands of the mythic and mundane.” 

Perillo is also the author of five other volumes of poetry, including Dangerous Life, The Body Mutinies, The Oldest Map with the Name America, Luck is Luck and Inseminating the Elephant (2010), which was a Washington State Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist.  

Luck is Luck was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and was included in the New York Public Library’s “Books to Remember” for 2005. 

Her poems have been anthologized in Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry. She also has produced a collection of essays, I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing and a collection of short stories, Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain

She received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2000.

Perillo studied in the MFA program at Syracuse University, where she was in workshops taught by Tess Gallagher and also met Raymond Carver. She has taught at Syracuse University, St. Martin’s College, Warren Wilson and Southern Illinois University. She currently lives in Olympia, Washington.

For more details on the Raymond Carver Festival, please visit the festival's webpage at or contact Bruce Hattendorf (

Open Writing Workshop

Peninsula College English Professor Emeritus Alice Derry and PC English instructor Kate Reavey will offer a writing workshop from 1:30 to 3:30 pm in the Peninsula College Longhouse. The workshop is offered in the spirit of creativity, in memory of Raymond Carver and in celebration of the many poems inspired by his life on the Olympic Peninsula. 

Participants need have no previous experience. Writing prompts will help individuals begin their work. Participants should bring a pen and notebook or a laptop/tablet. Paper and pencils will be available if needed.

Derry is the author of four full collections of poetry, including her latest book, Tremolo, published by Red Hen Press in 2012. As a manuscript, Tremolo was awarded a Washington State GAP grant from Artist Trust in 2011. Strangers to Their Courage was a finalist for the 2002 Washington Book Award. Stages of Twilight 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, Not as You Once Imagined, and translations from the German poet Rainer Rilke. Derry’s MFA. is from Goddard College (now Warren Wilson).  

After 29 years teaching English and German at Peninsula College, Derry retired in June, 2009. She was a major force in conceiving and directing the college’s Foothills Writers’ Series from 1980 to 2009. 

During the last three years, Derry, along with Kate Reavey, has worked with Native writers from local and regional tribes at the college and the Elwha Klallam Heritage Center. Derry’s friendship with Tess Gallagher and their mutual collaboration in editing and inspiring each other’s books of poetry has been ongoing since their meeting more than 30 years ago.

Reavey is the editor for Enduring Legacies: the Native Cases Initiative. Her MA in Poetry is from UC Davis, and she is in her final semester of coursework for completion of her doctoral degree in Humanities and Culture, with a focus on social justice. Her books of poetry include two limited edition letter-pressed chapbooks and one longer collection, Too Small to Hold You

Reavey was invited to facilitate the “Indian Voices Poetry Workshops” with Derry, and the two have worked closely with tribal members from local and regional tribes for three years, first in the Longhouse at Peninsula College and more recently in the Elwha Klallam Heritage Center. Two anthologies have emerged from this work, including one that was edited by Tor Parker and generously supported by the Potlatch Fund, and another edited by Derry and Reavey that celebrates the removal of two dams on the Elwha River. 

Reavey has taught composition, creative writing and interdisciplinary courses for almost 20 years, has been a member of the Faculty Learning Communities with the Curriculum for the Bioregions Initiative (led by Jean MacGregor), and was selected to teach in Florence, Italy, as the WCCCSA exchange professor.  

In 2012, Reavey was awarded an NEH Bridging Cultures grant with fellow faculty member Matt Teorey. This has led to the creation of a linked American Literature and Composition course they are teaching this spring, called “The Promise of America.” Her article, “A Creation of Something New: Interdisciplinary, Collaborative Learning, and Sustainable Programs at the Evergreen State College,” is forthcoming in the journal Impact.

Reading and Reception with Tess Gallagher, Jane Mead and Lucia Perillo

Tess Gallagher is the widow of Raymond Carver and lived with him for ten years between Syracuse, NY, where they taught together until 1983, and Port Angeles, where they lived at the time of his death on August 2, 1988. Gallagher has managed all the affairs of Raymond Carver’s work for the past 25 years. 

Her ninth volume of poetry, Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems, is out from Graywolf Press and from Bloodaxe Press in England.  Other poetry includes Dear Ghosts, Moon Crossing Bridge, and Amplitude.  A Path to the Sea, translations of Liliana Ursu’s by Adam Sorkin, Ms. Gallagher, and Ms. Ursu, came out September 2011. Ursu visited Port Angeles and read in the Raymond Carver Room at the Public Library in the fall of 2012. 

Gallagher’s The Man from Kinvara: Selected Stories was published in fall 2009.  In 2008 Blackstaff Press in Belfast published Barnacle Soup—Stories from the West of Ireland, a collaboration with the Sligo storyteller Josie Gray, available in the United States from Carnegie Mellon.  Distant Rain, a conversation with the highly respected Buddhist nun, Jacucho Setouchi, of Kyoto, is both an art book and a cross-cultural moment.

Gallagher is also the author of Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray, A Concert of Tenses: Essays on Poetry, and two collections of short fiction: At the Owl Woman Saloon and The Lover of Horses and Other Stories. She wrote the preface for Beyond Forgetting, an anthology of poems about Alzheimer’s.  She also spearheaded the publication of Raymond Carver’s Beginners in Library of America’s complete collection of his stories published Fall 2009.  Jonathan Cape published Carver’s Beginners as a single volume in the United Kingdom in fall 2009. 

Gallagher spends time in a cottage on Lough Arrow in Co. Sligo in the West of Ireland where many of her new poems are set, and also lives and writes in her hometown of Port Angeles, Washington.

Jane Mead first studied poetry writing formally at Vassar College with Nancy Lindbloom, while earning a degree in Economics. Later she entered the MA program at Syracuse University, where she studied with Tess Gallagher and first met Raymond Carver. After earning her MFA from the University of Iowa, she went on to teach at a number of colleges, including Colby College, and Wake Forrest University, where she was Poet-in-Residence for many years. 

When her father died in 2003, she moved to California to take over the management of her grandfather’s vineyard. She now teaches on the faculty of the Drew University Low Residency MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. Her third book of poetry, The Usable Field, came out from Alice James in 2008, and a new book, Money Money Money/Water Water Water, is forthcoming from Alice James. Mead is a recipient of grants and awards from the Whiting, Lannan and Guggenheim Foundations.