Poet Alice Derry On Mourning A Complicated Relationship

Feb 13, 2013

Mourning begins in a kind of thick non-seeing,
only later clarified, gradually lightening,
until we recognize what our lives must carry.

So begins "The Planet Closest To Us," Alice Derry's frank and moving poem about grieving the loss of someone who it was not always easy to love -- her mother. Derry reads her poem, and talks about the unexpected gift in her mother's passing.

Cover of Alice Derry's 'Tremolo.'
Port Angeles poet Alice Derry's fourth collection is 'Tremolo.'
Credit Red Hen Press

"The Planet Closest To Us" appears in Derry's fourth poetry collection, "Tremolo" (Red Hen Press, 2012).

Derry is also the author of "Strangers to Their Courage" (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), a finalist for the 2002 Washington State Book Award. Earlier, she published "Stages of Twilight" (Breitenbush, 1986) and "Clearwater" (Blue Begonia Press, 1997), as well as three poetry chapbooks and translations of Rainier Maria Rilke (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2002). Derry recently retired from teaching at Peninsula College on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. She lives in Port Angeles, and co-directs the Foothills Writers' Series. She was recorded in the KUOW studios on Nov. 2, 2012.