John Straley grew up in Seattle, Washington, earning a BA in English from the University of Washington before becoming a criminal defense investigator in Sitka, Alaska. An essayist and poet, Straley is best known as a writer of detective fiction. Drawing inspiration from Alaskan history and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, his fiction and poetry emphasize personal narratives and local landscapes. His novels include The Woman Who Married a Bear (1992) and The Music of What Happens (1996). He was the Alaska State Writer Laureate from 2006 to 2008.
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"What really makes a poem dynamic is not the use of grand gestures. Rather, it is the tones and expressions of the voice that help listeners connect and understand the meaning of a poem."