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Tess Gallagher (Poet/Writer) at BookTree

Tess Gallagher Book Launch for Is Is Not

Is, Is Not upends our notions of linear time, evokes the spirit and sanctity of place, and journeys toward discovering the full capacity of language. Gallagher’s poems reverberate with the inward clarity of a bell struck on a mountaintop and hover daringly at the threshold of what language can nearly deliver while offering alternative corollaries as gifts of its failures. Guided by humor, grace, and a deep inquiry into the natural world, every poem nudges us toward moments of awe. How else except by delight and velocity would we discover the miracle within the ordinary?

Gallagher claims many Wests—the Northwest of America, the Northwest of Ireland, and a West even further to the edge, beyond the physical. These landscapes are charged with invisible energies and inhabited by the people, living and dead, who shape Gallagher’s poems and life. Restorative in every sense, Is, Is Not is the kind of book that takes a lifetime to write—a book of the spirit made manifest by the poet’s unrelenting gaze and her intimate engagement with the mysteries that keep us reaching.

Tess Gallagher (born July 21, 1943 in Port Angeles, Washington) is an American poet, essayist, and short story writer. She attended the University of Washington, where she studied creative writing with Theodore Roethkeand later Nelson Bentley as well as David Wagoner and Mark Strand. Her honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, The Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship (University of Washington), and the Elliston Award for "best book of poetry published by a small press" for the collection Instructions to the Double (1976).

Her late husband, Raymond Carver, encouraged her to write short stories, some of which were collected in The Lover of Horses (1987) and At the Owl Woman Saloon (1996)

Her book Moon Crossing Bridge is a collection of love poems written for Carver after his death from cancer in 1988.] "Moon Crossing Bridge" was followed in 2002 by the collection "Dear Ghosts."

Gallagher has taught at many colleges, most recently at Bucknell University and Whitman College. In December 2006, she published an essay in The Sun Magazine, titled "Instead of Dying", about alcoholism and Raymond Carver's having maintained his sobriety. 

Distant Rain, published in 2006, is a conversation between Tess and Jakuchō Setouchi, a Buddhist nun from Kyoto, which took place after Carver's death.