The writer and artist Weldon Kees lives many lives in Estacada poet Peter Hamer's upcoming collection of poetry.
"(In 1955, Kees) disappeared after telling people he was going to commit suicide or go to Mexico. No one is sure what happened to him. I was really taken with his story," Hamer said.
Hamer's book, "It's Just You and Me, Mr. Moon," will be published by First Matter Press on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Hamer and fellow First Matter Press authors K.M. Lighthouse and Eitan Codish will participate in a Zoom reading from 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16.
Kees was involved with many forms of the arts, including poetry, painting, playwriting, prose, film and literary criticism.
"His quality of writing, and the story about him really sucked me in," Hamer said, noting that he's continued to write about the Kees persona after his first manuscript was sent off for publication.
"He never felt he was as accomplished as he wanted to be, and he had this angst that he could never work enough."
In 1955, San Francisco Police found Kees' empty car on the Golden Gate Bridge. Shortly before that, Kees had told friends he planned to go to Mexico, and no one is certain what became of the poet.
"I've taken this incredible central character on alternate lives and paths, and extensive afterlives," Hamer said, noting that many of the events are inspired by Kees' life and writing. "He gets abducted by aliens and meets the pope in my work."
Hamer also writes about a persona Kees developed named Robinson, who has "a fantastic film noir voice."
He's looking forward to sharing his project during the Zoom gathering. Those who wish to participate can visit firstmatterpress.org/rsvp.html.
Hamer, who is also involved with the Estacada Arts Commission, the Performing Arts Group of Estacada, the Estacada Summer Celebration and the Estacada Poetry Project, began writing poetry when he was 13.
"I'm to the point where I can't not write. It's in me, and I keep writing," he said. "I'm thrilled to see a book of my writing come out. There's a great deal of satisfaction."
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