Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Crysta E. Casey

From the Seattle PI:

Crysta E CASEY May 27, 1952 - June 24, 2008 The Seattle poetry community mourns the loss of one of its most unpretentious poets. After a fifteen year battle with cancer, Crysta Casey, died on Mon. June 24th at the VA hospital in Seattle. Crysta Casey was born in Pasadena, CA to the late Buford Abner Casey and the late Vera Esther Casey. She graduated from Berkeley High in 1970 and from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1976, where she earned a Liberal Arts Degree. Although diagnosed with schizophrenia, she managed to get a waiver to enlist in the Marine Corps and served from June 1978, first as a journalist, then as a self-declared "Resident Poet", until honorably discharged under medical conditions on September 12, 1980. Crysta arrived in Seattle, up from Berkeley, in the early 1980s, when she began taking poetry classes with the late University of Washington professor, Nelson Bentley. Crysta often cited the professional and emotional support of Pesha Gertler, Sherry Reniker, Deborah Woodard, Esther Helfgott, and others far too numerous to mention here. Crysta married the late Stephen A Dial in 1983. Her first book, Heart Clinic, was published by Bellowing Ark Press in 1993. She won the Hugo Prize in 2004 and was a Seattle Poet Populist Finalist in 2006. She is survived by her two brothers, Daniel A. and David W. Casey, her sister, Cameale Casey Johnson, and her niece, Kara L Casey. Thanks to the flexibility and support of the VA hospice team, Dr. Marcus Nemuth and Chris Storey, the dedication of Irene Leyson and Cody, and a host of loving friends, Crysta remained productive throughout the final months of her life. She worked with her editors to revise poetry manuscripts for publication, read poetry late into the night, and even managed to leave the hospice to give her final two public readings. Crysta will be buried at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, at 2:00p.m. Wednesday, July 2nd with flag ceremony and gun salute. We will miss you Crysta - your sense of humor, your smile and intellect, and that wonderful laugh. Thank you for leaving us your poems, journals, paintings and, most of all, your spirit. Donate to something you believe in, Crysta's preference was Richard Hugo House.


Radish King said...

oh shit

Premium T. said...

Wow. I knew Crysta waaaaay back in the early 80's.
We used to hang out with Crysta and Mike Snow --
another Seattle poet no longer with us. Thanks for posting this, Peter.

Andie Francoeur said...

Crysta, I will miss you dearly. You were a bright star. You lit the way for those who needed it most. I can still hear your laughter & I love remembering how kind and honest you were. You will always be thought of in a beautiful light.. the light that still shines even though you have gone to rest.

Valentine said...

I have been scanning old papers, decades old and one is a poem by Crysta E. Casey. I remember her from our time together in the USMC. I couldn't remember her name until I came across this poem. The ones I remember most were about the captain's spoons and McAdams. I was sorry to see she had passed. She was a gifted poet.