Losing a Legend
William Vern Studebaker, celebrated local poet, professor and kayaker, drowned over the Fourth of July weekend while kayaking on the Salmon River near Yellow Pine. Studebaker was well-known in the Idaho literary community, publishing an array of books including The Cleaving (1985), River Religion (1997), Travelers in an Antique Land (1997), Short of a Good Promise (1999) and Passions We Desire (2003). His poetry was inextricably tied to the Idaho landscape, often using the Salmon River as an allegory for his own life and experiences.
Studebaker taught English classes at the College of Southern Idaho from 1972 to 2005, when he retired. He also served on the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Idaho Humanities Council. In 2005, he was honored with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities.
In one of Studebaker's poems published in 1978, "Ars Poetica," he equates his writing with the annual struggle of salmon upstream to lay their eggs: "Everything goes without saying / Like my fish / These lines will turn belly-up / In the headwaters / At the glacier's foot." Fortunately, that's untrue. Studebaker's verse will continue upstream on the page and in the minds of all those who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given in Studebaker's name to The Cabin Literary Center, 801 S. Capitol Blvd.
This Thursday at Rediscovered Bookshop on Overland, Irish poet and author, Kevin Kiely, reads from his book Breakfast with Sylvia. Kiely's poetry has been described as "full of edgily real things, people and places caught in a sudden urgent perspective that shakes the reader with their nearness." The title poem of his 2005 Lagan Press publication fits this description accurately:
"In Cafe Insomnia, anaemic sunlight / Traffic outside / The rain flecked picture window / Sizzling bacon, eggs wide eyed / Frying on the gas."
Kiely describes an awkward, imaginary breakfast with The Bell Jar author Sylvia Plath that's filled with postmodern tangents and untouched milk. Listen to the rest of this poem and others at the only locally owned, independent bookstore in town with a feline mascot named Chaucer.
July 17, 7 p.m., Rediscovered Bookshop, 7079 Overland Rd. For more information, call 208-376-4229 or visit rediscoveredbookshop.com.
J Crist Gallery's Under the Grid exhibition is winding down this Friday with closing performances by local bands Hillfolk Noir and Nollifur. Under the Grid opened last month with work by 16 local artists including Erin Cunningham, Grant Olsen, Jenny Rice, Ben Wilson and Star Moxley (BW, Arts, "Living La Vida Local," June 18, 2008). The exhibit also featured a sold-out local foods garden party that teamed up the culinary prowess of Susan Medlin with local wines from Snake River Vineyards.
Friday's show promises an outdoor set by folk-pop foursome Hillfolk Noir, comprised of Travis and Allison Ward, Sam Merrick and Michael P. Waite. They describe their new album, Diggin' Songs, as wandering "through beatnik juke joints, Appalachian swamp shacks, and psychedelic deltas." Nollifur, on the other hand, is the synthetic to Noir's organic. The one-man-band, fronted by Noel Weber, bleeps its way through an echoey soundscape that he refers to as "an audio-visual experience with heart." If it's not too bright out, Nollifur will also project video art in tandem with his set.
July 18, 8 p.m., J Crist Gallery, 223 S. 17th St. For more information, visit jcrist.com or call 208-336-2671.