Poetry is the most disciplined and succinct form of writing, returning to its rightful place as our culture seeks depth in brevity and illumination in phrasing.
Tonight, the Tri-Cities plays host to two acknowledged masters of this form of communication. Both are widely read and significantly honored poets. One of them is even a neighbor.
The event is the next in the Mid-Columbia Literary Festival -- LitFest -- series. It begins at 7 p.m. on the main stage of the HUB at Columbia Basin College.
Shann Ray, who writes poetry and fiction, is an author born and raised in Montana, now living in Washington. His collection of stories, American Masculine, was selected by Robert Boswell for the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize and will appear with Graywolf Press in 2011.
Ray has earned a reputation for writing tense, dramatic verse. He is the winner of the Subterrain Poetry Prize, the Crab Creek Review Fiction Prize, and the Ruminate Short Story Prize.
Katrina Roberts, a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is the Mina Schwabacher Professor of English and the Humanities at Whitman College, where she directs the Visiting Writers Reading Series.
She is the author of four books of poetry: Underdog, Friendly Fire, The Quick and How Late Desire Looks.
She remains affiliated with the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College, with the Northwest Writers Institute (and the Fir Acres Program) at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, and with Portland State University's Haystack Program in Cannon Beach.
Besides teaching and writing, she and her her husband, Jeremy Barker, own Tytonidae Cellars (named for the barn owl) as well as the Walla Walla Distilling Co.
As always, LitFest programs at the college are free.