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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


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