Queer Heroes NW 2022:
David Pickering

David Pickering is a poet. Through a 30-year career in human resources management David refined his craft part-time, often by making time Saturdays, as one reviewer reported, “to write in the best coffee shop he can find.” Now he’s retired from the human resources field and living in Hillsboro with his husband, Stephen.

And David has been good at writing poetry. In 2020 he received the Airlie Prize for his first poetry collection, Jesus Comes to Me as Judy Garland. The book was released in September 2021 by Airlie Press (Portland OR) and is available at Annie Bloom’s Books as well as through the publisher and several online sources. David’s poetry has also been published in in a variety of journals, including Reed Magazine, Pine Row Press, Gertrude, Raw Art Review, and Haunted Waters Press.

David is a native Oregonian. Born and raised on the North Coast, he’s a product of the working-class culture there and he sometimes describes himself as “a queer son of Oregon.” Quoting a review again, David eschews the designation of “gay poet”, but he clearly can’t escape it, any more than he can escape his generation or the geography that’s part of his spirit. Even a cursory glance at his work confirms that David grew up when homosexuality was considered a crime, a mental illness, and a ticket to eternal damnation. It took a certain amount of attitude to survive and then write about it with such clarity, humor, and heart.

David has been an artist in other ways, as well: a lead performer in musical dinner theater, a member of a counterculture theater group, a tenor in a vocal jazz octet, and a choral singer in various choirs.

David’s work inspires and teaches, and when we see talent and hard work at this level, we look forward to what will come next.












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