Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Daryl Farmer


CSU, Chico’s Writer’s Voice is proud to present author, Daryl Farmer, Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM in Colusa 110. Farmer is author of Bicycling beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West, which won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer’s Award and was a Colorado Book Award finalist. Along with his book, Farmer has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Laurel Review, Quarter After Eight, and Isotope. Farmer also had a short story published recently, “Where We Land,” which ran in the Summer 2013 issue of The Whitefish Review. Currently, Farmer is a Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and teaches Creative Writing and a Film and Literature course that examines the short story in relationship to film adaptation.

Farmer’s first book, Bicycling beyond the Divide: Two Journey’s into the West, is a beautifully woven piece of literature that seamlessly grounds its reader in time and place, allowing for us to follow him on his journey amongst the diverse population and ever changing physical and social landscapes that make up America, as well as the most difficult leg of the trip through his previous, current and projected self. But as we follow along with Farmer, we realize that part of the load he’s carrying is us, the reader, whom he’s placed on the handlebars of his Trek 520 and given us a firsthand view of the world as he sees it unfolding, opening our eyes to the world around us and forcing us to find ourselves within it:

I looked up at the mountains now as I rode through the falling snow. The aspen trees that once covered the hillsides were gone. In their place stood condominiums packed together so tight, it was hard to tell if there were many buildings or just one, fortress-like and stretching for what seemed miles.

Was it the world that had changed, or was it me? Now, during a time of heightened security, it was difficult to imagine that I would get away with camping on a resort town golf course. Terrorism and war. Civilian Minutemen with guns “protecting” our southern border. It was a time when a government-issued color code was used to gauge our risk, and freedom itself was being reconfigured to fit the changes. A dosage of fear was fed to us daily. Vitamin or sugar pill, who could say? The news seemed gloomy, yet in 1985 the news had been of starving children, environmental degradation, crisis in the Middle East.

At twenty I had feared nothing.

From this brief excerpt, we see how Farmer puts the physical surroundings into perspective with brief descriptive detail, yet leaves enough room for us to fill in the scenery with our own experiences of diminished vegetation and urban sprawl within our community. He paints a vivid picture of the social climate that we reside in, while reflecting on what it was like for him and all who were there in ’85, prodding us to ask the very question he asks of himself:  “Was it the world that had changed, or was it me?”

Please join us for a wonderful evening with visiting author, Daryl Farmer. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, our readings are free and open to the public.


By Jeremy Wallace