The accolade "local treasure" is not easily awarded. Poet Lucia Perillo earned that and many other awards, including a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Perillo died in Olympia on October 16 at the age of 58. She had lived with multiple sclerosis since her diagnosis in 1988.
In their tribute, The Olympian newspaper recalled comments Perillo shared in 2009 on her nomination for a Pulitzer Prize:
“Being a poet is like being a snowman in a snow globe. Most of the time you’re put away in an attic. But then you win these awards, and it’s as though you’ve been put out with the Christmas tree and someone has come along and shaken.”
Seattle Arts & Lectures shared a 2011 reading with us. It serves as a “smart, funny, dark and light” reminder of a brilliance that will surely endure.
Perillo gave this reading at Benaroya Hall on January 20, 2011. The event was presented by SAL and Copper Canyon Press.