By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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His roommate, Patrick, was a gay man afflicted with AIDS.
“He was dying,” Carney remembered.
The two men's time together started Carney on a path of exploration.
On this path, he became a writer, poet and performer who will come to the Little Theater at Peninsula College on Wednesday.
Carney, who still lives near Dallas, will step up to the microphone at 12:35 p.m. for a Foothills Writers Series-Associated Student Council event that's free to the public.
Carney said he once harbored prejudice against gay men. A lot of prejudice. But in the psychiatric hospital, he had time to examine his beliefs and to listen.
“The way I felt about my girlfriend,” Carney said, “was the same way he felt” about his partner.
Carney came to the realization, too, that through writing, he could change and redefine his world.
He went on to earn two degrees in creative writing and to become a nationally known performer.
On Wednesday at the Little Theater, Carney will use his poetry to delve into issues of love, race, class and gender, and hold a question-and-answer session with his audience. Poetry readings are about “the free expression of ideas,” he said. “They're a chance for people to be heard.”
In Port Angeles as on other stops on his West Coast tour, “I want to build a discussion,” and won't discourage anybody from belting out a poem.
Carney himself has been a mainstay on the country's performance poetry scene for the past 10 years, and is a four-time finalist in the National Poetry Slam, which is held in a different city each summer.
He also teaches creative writing and diversity workshops at colleges and universities and has a novel coming out in 2014.
To find out more about this and other public events on the main campus of Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., visit the college's Facebook page or see www.pencol.edu.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.