What: Ellen Waterston discusses “Hotel Domilocos”

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Roundabout Books, 900 NW Mt. Washington Drive, Suite 110, Bend

Cost: Free

Contact: roundaboutbookshop.com or 541-306-6564

When: 6 p.m. August 4

Where: Herringbone Books, 422 SW Sixth St., Redmond

Cost: Free

Contact: herringbonebooks.org or 541-526-1491

T he past few months have been hectic but rewarding for author, poet and literary arts advocate Ellen Waterston.

In late April, she became the executive director at PLAYA, a 75-acre retreat at Summer Lake in south-central Oregon offering residency programs to artists, authors and scientists. Then in May, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, which she established three years ago, announced its 2017 winner, and Moonglade Press released Waterston’s fourth poetry collection, “Hotel Domilocos .

“I’ve always worked my own writing projects in and around everything else I’m involved in, so that’s nothing new,” Waterston said. “My mission is to support the arts and participate in them both at once.”

Waterston will read selections from “Hotel Domilocos” and discuss her work on Thursday at Roundabout Books in Bend and on August 4 at Herringbone Books in Redmond.

The “Hotel Domilocos” of the book’s title is a hotel near the small Costa Rican town of Dominicalito that Waterston had visited. She was inspired by reflecting on possible conversations shared between locals and people from around the world who may have gathered and stayed there.

Waterston says the unifying thread of the collection is the fact that the human experience is “both local and magnificent at once,” whether the subject of a poem is the future of the planet, vagaries of the heart or constructs of the mind.

Many of the about 70 poems are stories that convey the collision of one culture with another in settings ranging from Central America to Oregon’s high desert and other locales.

Waterston’s verse examines some challenging issues. One poem was inspired by environmentalist and author Kathleen Dean Moore’s question “What are we in a wounded world?”

Others are simultaneously humorous and thought-provoking. In “Snack Mix,” Waterston analyzes the package of trail mix handed out on a plane and realizes there are fewer pretzels inside than the number of chemicals listed on the packaging.

“I would invite people to look for themselves in the poems,” Waterston said. “Often the ‘I’ pronoun is used in poems because it’s more immediate, but not necessarily because it’s the experience of the author.”

In addition to her poetry, Waterston has also written in longer forms, previously publishing a collection of essays and a memoir. However while she says she also loves longer form prose (both fiction and nonfiction), poetry feels like home.

“I feel that if I can capture a scene or an emotion in a poem, I can later move it to a longer form with some authenticity,” Waterston explained.

She prefers to write in the morning before she is caught up in the business of the day, and is looking forward to setting up her writing desk in the new cabin that has just been constructed for her at PLAYA, where she expects to live around three weeks each month.

Waterston said being around the artists and scientists at PLAYA has taught her the importance of having keen peripheral vision to really pick up on what the environment around her is offering as inspiration.

“I intend to warm the seat of that new desk every morning if I can, but life happens,” she said.

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