DON PEERY, POET LAUREATE 2014-2016
Born in Nebraska in August 1940, Don Peery grew up in Shasta County in far northern California. After high school, he served 4 years, seven months enlisted in the US Air Force, returning to Redding with his young family in 1963. Don followed several vocational paths in Northern California that included working as an Engineer/Surveyor for CalTrans, an employment officer for the employment service, Director of a non-profit offering training and job services to low income and displaced workers in Shasta County, and a short stint as Associate Vice-President for Economic Development for a local community college.
Also, for the past 50 years, Don has pursued an avocation of writing poetry. Mostly learning by trial and error, he received active mentoring by James Lovall, Doctor of Literature and Poetry at a local community college. Over the years he polished his art through writing, sharing and critiquing poetry with fellow poets in and around Northern California.
After retirement from the world of work in 2002, Don continued writing and editing his poetry resulting in four small books of his poems being published along with individual poetry in poetry magazines and in local venues. Don published a book of poems, “From Benicia with Love” containing poems submitted in the 2013 Benicia Love Poetry Contest. A resident of Benicia since 2008 and as member of the Benicia First Tuesday Poetry Group since 2005, he has recently been appointed Benicia’s fifth Poet Laureate to serve for the two-year period of July 2014 to June 2016.
Benicia, the City
Benicia the City is much like Benicia the town.
They share the same location on the map;
the same streets and gutters, schools and parks;
the same population; the same past glories.
For city- folk, there are Papa's and Sailor Jacks,
and dining out on the street at the Union Hotel,
all with fine wines, cocktails, and up-scale menus.
The towns-folk have Sandoval's, the First Street Café,
and the Benicia Grill on East Second Street.
The city-folk have coffee at the Rellik and Starbucks;
ice cream at the Double Rainbow and Baskin Robbins.
The town's folk have coffee at RRAGS and Java Point
Café and Thrifty ice cream at the drug store.
Mostly, we work away from our city/town
during the day, returning at night and on weekends
to homes, family, and friends. There's not much occurring
in winter, spring and fall except for school,
after hour sports, library visits,
trips to the store and city council meetings.
But in the summer, we all get together for Thursday
evening farmer's markets, Friday night
movies in the park, or strolling downtown
enjoying the shops and the breeze from the bay.
And every year in July, we line First Street
to see family and friends marching by
or riding on floats in celebration of where
we have been and how far we have come, affirming
who and what we all will be tomorrow.
Find more of his poems in the catalog.