Port Townsend poet to read from her acclaimed debut book

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — We’re on this road together. It’s a bumpy ride, but now and again, beauty comes into view.

That’s one thread knit into Long Way Through Ruin, the debut book of poetry Kathryn Hunt will introduce Friday night in her adopted hometown of Port Townsend.

Hunt, a documentary filmmaker and freelance writer who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, is thrilled to have published Long Way on Blue Begonia Press of Yakima.

She’ll read from and sign copies at 7 p.m. Friday at the Writers’ Workshoppe, 234 Taylor St.

Admission is free; the book will be available for $15.

Long Way Through Ruin is dedicated to Hunt’s mother and father, and some of its poems are about the twisting path she traveled with them.

But the book is also about the poet’s feeling of connection to the natural world, in its birth, death and rebirth.

In nature and in writing poetry, “I’ve found sustenance,” Hunt said.

She sees each poem as a gift, one she hopes to give back to the world through the writing and by reading aloud.

This art, for her, “requires solitude and silence . . . and listening deeply. In that, I’ve found a kind of joy.”

Gary Copeland Lilley, another Port Townsend poet, has raved about Long Way.

“Love and fear, joy and grief, life and death are the harnessed horses which pull a reader through the pages,” he writes.

After Hunt begins her book tour at the Writers’ Workshoppe, she’ll take two prominent bookstores up on their invitations: Elliott Bay Book Co. on Capitol Hill in Seattle and Powell’s in Portland, Ore.

Meantime, a video of Hunt reading from Long Way Through Ruin, as well as the book itself, are available at www.BlueBegoniaPress.com.

This book encompasses six years of writing, Hunt said. She’s published single poems in magazines such as The Sun, Alaska Quarterly Review and Orion.

An 11-year resident of Port Townsend, Hunt makes her living as a writer for organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

But “occasionally, I get $20 when a poem is published in a literary magazine, and I love to wave that in my partner’s face and say, ‘See, poetry does pay,’” she quipped.

Hunt’s partner is George Esveldt, a retired commercial fisherman who worked in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

“If people can connect with these poems in any way, I’ll be happy,” she said of her book.

“Poetry is one of the most intimate voices we can speak in. And poetry, for me, has just saved my life,” Hunt added.

Poets and singers such as Jane Kenyon and Aretha Franklin speak straight to Hunt’s soul.

A poem can be a light source, a spirit in the dark, a hallelujah, “whatever gets you through the night,” Hunt said.

“It’s there, if we listen.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 25. 2013 7:17PM
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