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LO planning director publishes fifth book of poetry

Scot Siegel spent four years working on his latest collection

SUBMITTED PHOTOS  - Siegels The Constellationof Extinct Stars and Other Poems

Most people in Lake Oswego know Scot Siegel as the city's planning and building services director, and Siegel himself would probably say there's a certain poetry to the crafting of development codes and regulations.

But for Siegel, true poetry happens through the process of what he calls “defamiliarization,” when he leaves society behind and tunes into his artistic mind. The results of that process are on display in "The Constellation of Extinct Stars’ and Other Poems," his fifth book of poetry, which was published in March.

Siegel spent four years working on his newest collection, including two retreats to Summer Lake in the high desert of south-central Oregon.

“It’s like being in heaven,” Siegel told The Review.

His first trip lasted a month between January and February 2012, when “the weather was extreme.”

“It was beautiful,” Siegel says. “The wind was 70 miles per hour. It would snow and the sun would come out… just incredible.”

The history of the area, with artifacts of past life and forgotten landscapes, spurred a second trip, a two-week retreat in late February 2015.

“As an artist,” says Siegel, “it is a great way to access ideas, emotions, images, metaphors and characters you might not otherwise be able to write about as vividly as if you were back home.”

Siegel recently read from his new work at the Association of Writer & Writing Programs convention in Los Angeles. On June 1, he’ll present his work at the Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th St. in Lake Oswego. The program is scheduled to begin at at 7 p.m.

“It will be an evening of poetry and preservation,” he said.

Limited-edition, signed copies of "The Constellation of Extinct Stars’ and Other Poems" ($18) are available on Siegel's website, scotsigel.com. The book is also available in local bookstores and online at amazon.com.