Writing Up The Gorge 2018

Writing Up the Gorge is an annual event, typically held in late summer, in which writers spend five days writing at various locations throughout the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, located along the Columbia River dividing Washington and Oregon. 

Self-guided and self-paced, Write Up aims to trigger the writing mind with fresh perspectives, and concludes with a display of poems at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. 


In place

The cliche of summer is true

across the map, across years.

In a hum of ends


a dog barks in the distance, 

a car roars and recedes,

crickets rise.


Who knew this could be a life —

to soothe and hush,

to care and not care,

to know the difference. 


Once, I was young and 

wore this poem, alone,

in a city far away


and the light was just like this, dimming 

so that my hand grew faint against the page

and my aloneness enlarged 

to a soft shade of lonely 


and porch lights flickered to life, 

one by one

down the street 

across town, so that


in the cool quiet of nightfall 

every place was this place

and everyone was home. 


— Drew Myron 


On this weeklong writing project, I lost my way. There was an agenda, a map, and destinations designed to inspire writing.

But my days were choked with smoke and haze. I did not take the hike, visit the farm, or drive to the lookout. I went instead to my favorite quiet, no-pressure place: the Hood River Public Library.  

And there I wandered, losing myself. I wrote and wrote, mostly a jumble, but maybe a nugget hides in the rubble. The best part was the sweet relief, realizing inspiration comes to the willing. It's all here and here and here, all within reach. 


Where Art Is Made

Where Art Is Made

We are builders, makers, hopers, doers.

From clunkers and junkers,

out of shards and clay,

we shape and frame, sort and stir.

Each of us turning grime into gold.


Against fence and lock,

a door swings, a window opens,

a sunflower reaches for a fresh day.


Everything is always growing.


Dirt dusts places not yet alive

and in this gravel of possibility,

we honor the old and worn, the faded and frail,

know that good bones are worth holding.


Deep against rock, trains clack and roll,

we press into paper, scissors and paint,

splattered, gathered, mixed.


With each ding-ding-ding, solid freight

floats our dreams and we clatter, wide awake

in dark, in light, in love and hope.


The day opens, the sky widens, you are here.

Hand in hand, arm in arm, each grip

is a dare to you declared:


Breathe, work, sear and sculpt.

Sew and hold, paint and saw.

Mix and mingle. Break rules, break ground.

Create your self, your world, your now.


On the bridge of progress, we dance and dive,

wonder, wander, taste and make.


With each how and why and what next?

we dig in and reach out

to build in the mind,

a step, a ladder, another sky.


Let’s scaffold the unknown.

In every thing, promise.


— Drew Myron


"Where Art Is Made" by Futuristic Films

For the River North Art District (RiNo) in Denver, Colorado

Conceived by Tracy Weil, RiNo Co-Founder/Creative Director

Narrated by Toluwanimi Obiwole, Denver's first Youth Poet Laureate (2015)

Poem by Drew Myron 




Thin Skin 

Thin Skin, poems and photos by Drew Myron

Paperback, 99 pages
$12 - Buy at

Every book of poems tells a poet’s life story. Thin Skin tells the story of a poet’s troubled life buoyed by her own compassionate acts, a life emboldened by the resiliency her own empathy gives her. Although marked with the indelible blear of many sunless days, Drew Myron’s world makes …"a large leap into a saffron sky." Her lyric poems map the demanding yet potentially rewarding routes people must take—…"the terrain/ of this generous world."

 — Paulann Petersen
Oregon Poet Laureate


This unique volume adds photos and “backstory” snippets to enhance the understanding of and impact of the five thematic chapters of the collection. Individual poems give the reader some room to roam, but each section is meant to define and convey a particular aspect of the poet’s life on the way to her current state of grace.

Myron’s work admits a lifetime of struggle against a world that rewards boldness. While many can achieve confidence, or at least ease, in something as natural as one deep breath, she has struggled for that same air.

This collection confesses a vulnerability that has fostered a proud strength and authentic voice of empathy in its author. “Thin Skin” exposes the reader to life’s harsh elements, but also shows the way to refuge."

 — Brian Juenemann
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association

She is the poet laureate of vulnerability!”

— Molly Spencer
The Stanza


$12 - Buy at


Writing Up the Gorge


Writing Up the Gorge is an annual literary event in which writers spend five days writing at five different locations throughout the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, located along the Columbia River dividing Washington and Oregon. 

Self-guided and self-paced, Write Up aims to trigger the writing mind with fresh perspectives. In 2016, locations included a bed & breakfast, a history museum, an airplane and auto museum, a winery, and a riverfront park. 

The Write Up culminated with a gallery exhibition and literary reading at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, Oregon. The following poems were inspired by and written during the Writing Up the Gorge experience: 

The therapist tells my sister to make memories now

While you still have your husband, she says.

While there’s still time.


And I imagine

a factory churning out a long line of memory widgets the size of

chocolates with dark shells and soft centers.


My sister is overwhelmed,

manufacturing memories to replace diagnosis, prognosis,

and a timeline too short.


And on this same summer day,

my husband and I paddle across placid water, toward suede hills,

and we are silent, stilled by magnitude.


And we swim

in the river and laze in the sun, can feel our faces tighten and pull

with heat and fatigue and we hold hands, wordless.


And when I ask his favorite memory of us,

he looks to the mountain that centers our view. 

This and this, he says, sweeping his hand across

the landscape, then turns to me, and this.


On the way home

tired and sad, we slip into quiet.

We know love is solid but fragile too. We know how to hold.


But we don’t know

how memory will shape and fade, and what will,

in the end, keep us whole. 


- Drew Myron



Because everyone is sick or dying

My mother, who has shrunk to bone and brittle,

limps to the kitchen to make a fancy dessert

with a fancy name only she can pronounce and

will pour into fancy glasses and present to us,

her falling apart family, in an effort to fill us,

feed us, love us.


And we are greedy for this sweet,

this smooth easy end. 


- Drew Myron



Quiet: My Favorite Sport


Turn Up the Quiet

A dense forest,

a long road,

the hush of a pew.

Between each swell

even the ocean churns

out a rush of silence.

At home the refrigerator

hums in a steel envelope

of calm. When an ice cube drops

an after-silence descends that we

would not hear but for the fall.

This blanket, on this couch,

wraps a quiet that does not

bend as much as billows

and pillows and tucks

into my every sharp


I am a quiet

person in a quiet

life and still I crave

silence the way a

drunk craves the cocktail

that will change every promise and past.

In silence, thoughts gather,

divide, settle in quiet corners

to wait patient as Sunday

for a maybe

for a yes.

—  Drew Myron

Drew Myron is a poet, writer and head of a marketing communications company with a focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy, and health.

She is the author of Thin Skin, a collection of photos and poems, and her poetry appears in a variety of print and online journals. She is founder of Push Pull Books, a publishing company, and serves as director of poetry for the Denver County Fair.

Raised in Colorado, she now lives in Oregon. She writes a blog, Off the Page, and hosts writers and artists at 3 Good Books.

A note from Drew about the poem:

Much of my life is quiet, or the craving of quiet. Though I bike and hike and swim and ski, my real sport is reading. My favorite word: quietude.

Maybe writing a poem is the planting of stillness, a harvest of quiet.


— from Poem of the Week, a literary email produced by Vicki Hellmer. To receive a poem-by-email each week, contact Vicki Hellmer at: