Although she has written poetry to the acclaim of her friends for years, Dorothy (Dottie) Trogdon was not sure if her poetry was good enough to be published in the wider world. To find out, two years ago she submitted her poem “Roses” to a Chicago publication for writers who are more than 50 years old, “Passager.”
“My friends had always been supportive. But what would people in the larger world of poetry think of my work. I wanted to know, if someone who did not know me and was not a friend of mine would like my poems. I thought sending it to a publication that only published works of people over 50 would eliminate some of the competition,” Trogdon says.
“Passager” accepted her poem for publication. That was the encouragement she needed to pull together and publish her first book of poems, “Tributaries,” which opened with her very first published poem. “There was such a demand for the book that the first edition sold out almost immediately. People said it almost had a cult following,”Trogdon says. The second edition, republished just recently, and sold only at Davrill’s Bookstore, is already almost half gone.
When asked about the book’s success, she attributes it not only to the poems but to the book itself a slim volume in pale grey with a simple red line drawing on the cover. “An artist and architect friend of mine from Seattle, Richard Brothers, did the cover design and drawings for both editions. I asked him to design the cover. Then he went on to create six additional elegant and unusual black-and-white drawings for the books interior. He read the poems very carefully. The drawings come from what he thought was the essence of the work. The drawings came from that. He completely designed the second edition and oversaw the production,”Trogdon says.
“Tributaries” is dedicated to an Orcas Island resident, the late Gaye Williams. Trogdon says, “Many people on the island knew and loved her. She was Jungian analyst here for many years. She was a close and dear friend of mine who died suddenly overnight.”
Trogdon will be reading and signing her book Darvill’s Bookstore on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. “This is the first reading I have ever done in a bookstore. This is an amazing thing for me to be doing at this time in my life. I have been writing poetry for many, many years but it was always a private thing.” Trogdon has a bachelor degree in art history and a graduate degree in architecture from Harvard’s design school.
“The poems come out of life experience, looking at it and the meaning it has for me,” Trogdon, a retired interior designer says. At the reading, Trogdon plans to read from both “Tributaries” and several poems from her next book collaboration with Brothers that is tentatively titled “31 Poems.”
With two or three exceptions Trogdon says all the poems in the current collection were written in the past few years. “Swimming at Night in August” was written more than 20 years ago. “I have not been swimming at night in August in quite a few years,” she says.