Paulann Petersen, One Small Sun
We welcome Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita Paulann Petersen to read from her new collection of poetry, One Small Sun, published by Salmon Poetry. The poems take readers from a fur shop in Oregon to a Hyderabadi shrine in India's subcontinent. Tapping deeply into memory, relying on poetry's ability to bring alive again what is coded into the blood, these poems ultimately form an arc of an aging woman's life. This collection tells the tales of what she has always realized, is ever learning, but -- only through poetry's vehicle -- can truly know.
Petersen was born in Portland and graduated from Franklin High School. She attended college at Pomona College in California and Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, earning a master's degree in Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts. She taught English at high schools in southern Oregon and West Linn for several years before retiring in 1999. In 2010 Petersen was named Oregon's sixth Poet Laureate. She served until 2014, traveling more than twenty-seven thousand miles and visiting all thirty-six Oregon counties to give workshops and presentations to schools and community groups.
She has six previous full-length books of poetry, including The Volupturary and The Wild Awake. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, and Notre Dame Review. Petersen was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the recipient of the 2006 Holbrook Award from Literary Arts. In 2013 she received the Willamette Writers' Distinguished Northwest Writer Award.