By Alec Clayton
September promises to be a stellar month for events at Olympia’s Orca Books. Richard Robbins will read from his book Body Turn to Rain: New & Selected Poems. Other readings include Atrophy by Jackson Burgess, joined by musical guests Jesse Branch and Mortimer, and Craig Holt from his Hard Dog to Kill. In addition, Orca hosts monthly reading groups Fireside every first Thursday, Orcapod every second Sunday and Jacobin every second Wednesday.
Shop owner Linda Berentsen says, “We at Orca Books love hosting events. Usually the author reads from their book, answers questions about how they came to write it and then individually signs a copy for anyone who is interested. Sometimes they even provide snacks, slideshows and music. At other times we have events that revolve around artists, musicians and groups of poets. Coming to an Orca Event is a great way to meet a real author-artist.”
Robbins, coming September 21, directed the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University Mankato, where he continues to direct the school’s creative writing program. In 2006, he was awarded the Kay Sexton Award for longstanding dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, readings and other literary activity in Minnesota.
Burgess, the September 27 reader, is a nationally touring poet whose writing explores depression, empathy, loneliness, love and substance abuse. Noted poet David St. John, a National Book Award nominee for poetry, says, “Jackson Burgess is the most dazzling, urgently urban and unfailingly inventive young chronicler of lost highways and avenues of broken dreams since the early poems of Denis Johnson and the ballads of Tom Waits.”
Winding up the month, Holt will be the reader September 28. It’s a stop on his tour of Oregon and Washington in celebration of his 2018 gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Beth Jusino, author of Choosing Higher Ground: Working and Living in the Values Economy, writes, “This darkly comic debut has more plot twists and traps than the Congo River, and memorable characters who lingered in my mind for weeks. It’s smart, relentless, violent and curiously introspective.”
Orca Books, 509 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia
6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21
Free to attend, $19.95 for the book