Portrait Of An Artist: Modesto poet Gordon Preston

05/30/2009 6:03 PM

05/30/2009 6:04 PM

Name: Gordon Preston/Poet

Age: 58

City of residence: Modesto

Daily job: Intervention reading teacher

Family: Wife of 35 years, Colleen O'Brien Preston, an administer for the new Kaiser Modesto Medical Center; two sons, Andrew and Colin, grads of Modesto High, MJC, UCLA and UCSB

Background: I was born in New York and my parents moved us to California for the higher educational opportunities. I studied at San Diego State, 1968-73

Arts experience: While in college in the off-set printing era, I edited an off-campus poetry magazine named Cafeteria and began to be published and participated in poetry readings (even on the radio); Then in Modesto I was a member of Calif Poets-in-the-Schools. At age 54, my first book, a limited edition of poetry, "Violins," was published by Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, Ky.). I hosted poetry readings at the Mistlin Art Gallery, 2004-07, and was assistant editor of hardpan, another journal of poetry. Now, my first book-length manuscript of poems is out in fierce competition at several publishing houses and university presses.

Advice for young performers/artists: Keep at it. As you see from above, it takes a lifetime to grow into your art so that there are no regrets. You can live your art without being an "award winner."

Favorite music/art/performance: "Nutcracker" at the Gallo Center

Life plans: Continue writing and giving more readings of my work

How do you reach people unfamiliar with the arts? Invite them to an art gallery and/or a poetry reading.

What would surprise people about your art? Some are comfortable reading my work, others just take-it-or-leave-it; this is what takes getting used to, as an artist out in the public.

Are you a visual or performing artist who would like to be featured in Portrait of an Artist? Send us information on yourself using the categories here. Also send us jpeg photo attachments of yourself and your work, whether it's acting, costume design, painting, sculpting, etc. E-mail the info to jfarrow@modbee.com, with "Portrait of an Artist" in the subject line. Photos may be used in print and online.

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