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Truckee poet to read work

Paul Raymore, Sierra Sun
Paul RaymoreTom Meschery, former NBA player turned poet, relaxes at his Truckee home.
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Truckee poet Tom Meschery will read from his latest collection of poetry “Nothing We Lose Can Be Replaced” as well as a number of poems currently in progress this Thursday, Nov. 20, at Sierra Nevada College.In “Nothing We Lose Can Be Replaced” Meschery examines three very diverse subjects.”The idea of the book was to be primarily a book about my family, my experiences as a basketball player and my experiences as a teacher. I sort of wanted to get ‘me’ out of the way,” Meschery said.Meschery’s next collection, tentatively titled “Some Men,” is still in the works. He expects to finish it sometime in the next two years; however, he will read some of those poems, which investigate the nature of men and manhood, at Thursday’s reading.Poetry is something that Meschery discovered later in life. Born of Russian immigrant parents, Meschery’s family was relocated from Manchuria, China, to a Japanese internment camp near Tokyo during World War 2. After the war, they moved to San Francisco where Meschery grew up.He attended Saint Mary’s College, and upon graduation, was drafted by Philadelphia in the first round of the NBA draft. Meschery enjoyed a 10-year career in the NBA, and after coaching in Portland, he attended the University of Iowa Writers Workshop on the advice of friend and fellow poet Mark Strand.After receiving his Master’s of Fine Arts degree from Iowa at age 35, Meschery returned to Truckee where he and his wife, Joanne, opened Truckee River Book & Tea on Commercial Row (next to the Squeeze In) and ran it for four years. After struggling to make money in town, Meschery became an English teacher at Reno High School, a position he still holds.”So I don’t think I really got into actually writing, and pushing my writing, and seeing myself as a poet, until I was in my 40s,” Meschery said.The late start apparently hasn’t hampered his progress, as Meschery has recently been inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.”To put time aside to write is always a difficult proposition,” Meschery said. His work at Reno High, Sierra College (where he teaches creative writing), as well as family commitments partially explain the two-year time frame for his next book of poetry. That, and the necessity of revising each poem until it sounds right.”Usually once you get through three or four or five drafts of a poem, by the time you get to about the sixth or the seventh draft, somewhere in there, you’ve probably got a finished piece,” he said, adding, “It’s anywhere from six to 10 drafts before you’re actually finished with the poem.”While revision is essential to poetry, Meschery does admit that it’s possible to over-revise: “I think poetry is a little bit like music. You can studio a song to death … and I think that holds true for poetry in some way, because poetry, no matter how much you edit, is still an emotional art form, so consequently it’s much more spontaneous. If you over refine it, it becomes homogenized, pasteurized.”Those interested in hearing Meschery’s poetry in its raw form should plan to attend his reading this Thursday at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village from 6-9 p.m. The event is free and open to all members of the SNC student body and the general public. For more information, contact June Saraceno at (775) 831-7799 ext. 4052.


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