Oregon's poet laureate will read her poems at Willamette March 13

by University Communications,

Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen will read selections from her recent work on March 13 as part of the Hallie Ford Literary Series.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room of the Hatfield Library, the event is free and open to the public.

This will be Petersen’s first reading from her new book of poems, “Understory.” She will also read from other recent work and discuss her inspiration for the poems.

By the time she visits Willamette, Petersen says she will have traveled more than 18,000 miles giving workshops, readings and keynote addresses in every corner of Oregon.

She says that literary readings allow the audience to experience the intonations and inflections the author intends.

“A poem has a certain amount of life as print on a page, but that’s only a fraction of its total life,” Petersen says. “The poem doesn't gain its complete life until it is given voice.”

Petersen, who is Oregon’s sixth and current poet laureate, is the author of five collections of poetry, including “The Wild Awake,” “Blood Silk,” “A Bride of Narrow Escape” and “The Voluptuary.” She is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and she serves on the board of directors of Friends of William Stafford.

The Hallie Ford Literary Series is organized by members of Willamette’s English Department. It features poets, novelists, short story writers and others, who are brought to campus each semester to meet with students and discuss the writing process.

The next presenter is contemporary author Michael Martone, who will visit Willamette April 9.

For more information, contact Leslie Cutler at lcutler@willamette.edu