This Sunday afternoon!
Crysta E CASEY --. Although diagnosed with schizophrenia, she managed to get a waiver to enlist in the Marine Corps and served from June 1978, first as a journalist, then as a self-declared "Resident Poet", until honorably discharged under medical conditions on September 12, 1980. Crysta arrived in Seattle, up from Berkeley, in the early 1980s, when she began taking poetry classes with the late University of Washington professor, Nelson Bentley. Crysta often cited the professional and emotional support of, Sherry Reniker, Deborah Woodard, and Esther Helfgott.
Poet, artist, and veteran Crysta Casey left behind many friends and two poetry manuscripts when she died in 2008. Floating Bridge Press has drawn poems from those manuscripts to produce the collection Green Cammie ($12). To celebrate its publication, several of her friends will read from it this afternoon. Despite its title, Ms. Casey’s book is boldly, sometimes heartbreakingly without camouflage. Her journey through the military and through numerous hospitalizations is presented in unusual, often haunting detail. Quietly powerful, her poems convey both struggle and remarkable resilience. Her work as a writer and a painter (her striking self-portrait fills the book’s cover) both arose out of and nourished that resilience – “I like to paint the flowers / of condolence. I like to paint them / before they wilt.”