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Meet the Writers: A sampling of the authors at The Nature of Words 

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Brian Turner

This poet is the author of Here, Bullet a collection of poems centered on his time serving in the Army during the Iraq war. Turner, who Benjamin Percy called one of his favorites when he appeared in Bend last month, was on the ground in Iraq at the war's onset in 2003 and the poems in his debut collection recount some of those experiences. This year, Turner published his second collection of poems, Phantom Noise, which again gave readers a look into the Iraq war, in addition to a glimpse into the minds of the soldiers fighting the battles. Turner's poems are marked by highly descriptive, yet largely straightforward language delivered in a crisp voice and hearing him read should only further bring his pieces to life.

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Paulann Peterson

This author has a pretty sweet job - she's Oregon's Poet Laureate, holding the position that was once held by the great William Stafford. Peterson is best known for her collections of poetry, the most recent of which, The Voluptuary, is slated for release this month. Peterson, a former fellow at Stanford, has also enjoyed a fruitful career as an educator, teaching in Oregon's high schools and also serving as an instructor at writing conferences and colleges.

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Sam Waterston

We can only hope that Sam Waterston's keynote address at this year's Nature of Words Author Dinner is as entertaining as the performance he gave at last weekend's Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, D.C. Most know Waterston as a longtime character actor on Law and Order and other films and TV shows, but he's also a keen speaker, as we saw last weekend. And, he's also the brother of Nature of Words' founder and director, Ellen Waterston. Saturday, November 6. 5:30-9:30pm. High Desert Museum.

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Barry Lopez

I had a chance to dig into one of Barry Lopez's latest projects, Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape over the past few weeks and found it to be perhaps the most engaging collection of outdoor writing I've come across in a long while. And that's not what I expected from a book, edited by Lopez and his wife Debra Gwartney, that lists more than 850 landscape and topographical terms, all described with stylistic flair, peppered with interesting scientific tidbits and rife with plenty of literary references. Lopez is also known for his nature articles, essays and fiction that have appeared in a myriad of national publications, which is why he's been called "the nation's premier nature writer."

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Michael Dickman

"Wait. Wasn't this guy here last year?" That's probably what you're thinking about this Portland-based poet, but you're wrong - you're thinking of his twin brother, Matthew Dickman (also a poet), who was featured in the 2009 edition of the event. But Michael is an accomplished scribe in his own right, and his latest collection of poems, Flies, won him the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin Award this year. His poems are known for their lack of punctuation and sometimes dark imagery, which is why he (and his brother, for that matter) is known as one of the nation's best young writers.

The Nature of Words

Wednesday-Sunday, November 3-7. For more information on appearances and workshops, visit


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