Chatham News

Gray’s Skies brings Poet Gregory Orr and singer/ songwriter Bruce Dalzell to Chatham University on 2/17

PITTSBURGH: Poet Gregory Orr and singer/songwriter Bruce Dalzell will be featured Friday, February 17, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. in Rea Coffeehouse, Chatham University. This project is supported in part by the Gray St. Germain Gideon fund.  The reading and music series is free and open to the public.

Gray’s Skies is an annual reading and music series found in honor of Gray St. Germain Gideon, a musician, composer and creative thinker who died 2014 of a drug overdose. The series focuses on celebrating the works of writers, artists and musicians whose work uses the imagination to explore loss or personal struggle. The series is funded through the generosity of Melanie and Fred Brown, and Margaret and Tom Whitford, in collaboration with Chatham University’s MFA program.

Considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse, Gregory Orr is the author of ten collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include The River Inside the River, published in 2013, How Beautiful The Beloved, and Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved. His other volumes of poetry include The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (2002); Orpheus and Eurydice (2001); City of Salt, finalist for the LA Times Poetry Prize; We Must Make a Kingdom of It; and The Red House. Of his tenth collection, River Inside the River, The Guardian sees Orr, “continue his mission to write a poetry of authentic spiritual affirmation through the narrative of myth.”

Much of Gregory Orr’s early work is concerned with seminal events from his childhood, including a hunting accident when he was twelve in which he accidentally shot and killed his younger brother, followed shortly by his mother’s unexpected death, and his father’s later addiction to amphetamines. In the opening of his essay, “The Making of Poems,” broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Orr said, “I believe in poetry as a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusions, and traumatic events that come with being alive.”

Bruce Dalzell is the patriarch of the Athens music scene. He is a craftsman, constructing delicate and thoughtful folk tunes that cut through all the pretense of the modern music industry to hit listeners at their core. Although his catalogue of tunes is not without dark or mournful underpinnings, his songs always glow out of that dark night, with the soft but steady warmth of Bruce.

His personal musical achievements are enviable enough on their own, having been recently nominated for a WAMMIE award for his song “Tocoi Light,” and having graced the stage of West Virginia Public Radio’s much-celebrated “Mountain Stage” roots music radio program. His legacy is also manifest in his studio (I Love Brucie studios), his family, all musically celebrated themselves (his wife and sometimes musical partner, Gay is a member of The Local Girls, and their adult son Harlan is one half of The Princes of Hollywood), and his unflappable commitment to playing pro bono A&R man to the scores of hopeful, novice singer-songwriters. Sensing that he could offer even more, he took it upon himself to create Singer-Songwriter showcases at Donkey Coffee for emerging local talent, which eventually bore a child in the form of an ongoing CD series.

For more information, please contact Brittany Hailer, 412-365-1685 or