Second Sunday with Mark Pomeroy

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  2/27/2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015 • 2:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

In its 54-year history, Oregon State University Press has published only two novels. The first, Brian Doyle’s Mink River, garnered praise for its richly imagined and distinctive look at life in a small Northwest town. Four years after Mink River’s publication, OSU Press released its second fiction title—The Brightwood Stillness by Mark Pomeroy, a book that quickly earned its own acclaim as “absorbing and humane,” “perceptive” and “brave.” The book’s subject matter, and its decade-plus journey to finding a publisher, is anything but ordinary.

In the book, Portland high school teacher Hieu Nguyen is accused of sexual misconduct by two of his students. His close friend and colleague Nate Davis tries to lend support, but Davis has recently been assaulted by a former student in the school parking lot. That event brings on not only sharp anxiety, but a final push into a long-deferred quest to find out what happened to his uncle, a drifter and a Vietnam veteran.

“Who in their right mind, in 2014, would publish a novel that touches on the American War in Vietnam?,” asks author Mark Pomeroy. “And what sort of nutter would write, let alone publish, a novel that involves one of the protagonists being accused of sexual misconduct?,” he adds. The answer, of course, is Mark Pomeroy.

With its vivid look at friendship and the challenges of cross-cultural communication, and its poignant take on the legacy of Vietnam, The Brightwood Stillness compels readers through a maze of love, betrayal, and finally, redemption. Almost as compelling as the book itself, however, is Pomeroy’s story of the nearly 15 years it took to get his novel published.

Pomeroy will discuss writing, The Brightwood Stillness and the challenge of finding a publisher when he reads at Second Sunday, Deschutes Public Library’s monthly celebration of the written word and Pacific Northwest writers. This event (March 8, 2:00 p.m., at the Downtown Bend Library) is free and open to all; no registration is required.

Mark Pomeroy lives with his family in Portland. He has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship for fiction and a residency at Caldera Arts. His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in Open Spaces, The Wordstock 10, Portland Magazine, The Oregonian, the Waco Tribune-Herald, and What Teaching Means: Stories from America’s Classrooms. A former classroom teacher, he holds an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was a Fellow in Teaching. The Brightwood Stillness is his first novel.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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