Don Colburn


PENDLETON — A writer, who sees both poetry and journalism as essential in reporting on the world and witnessing the human condition, will be featured at the First Draft Writers’ Series on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Pulitzer Prize finalist and poet Don Colburn will headline the event, followed by Open Mic. The Zoom gathering begins at 7 p.m., and anyone can request an invitation at

The First Draft Writers’ Series, hosted by the Pendleton Center for the Arts, is one of the local events that’s made a smooth transition to an online format, attracting a broader audience than the in-house version was able to reach.

“To have community members who have moved away able to join us gave the December event the feeling of a happy reunion,” said PCA Executive Director Roberta Lavadour. “Not only were people glad to see the faces of fellow local literary arts enthusiasts on their screen, we had long-time patrons from Portland and even Kauai join in.”

Colburn is a longtime newspaper reporter who did not start writing poems until he was nearly 40. During a 33-year career as a reporter, he worked for four newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Oregonian. He is the author of five poetry collections, all published as a result of winning or placing in national manuscript competitions. His newest volume, "Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts," won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest. His poems have appeared in more than a dozen anthologies and in numerous magazines.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College, Colburn has an MA in journalism from American University and an MFA from the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. His writing honors also include the Discovery/The Nation Award, the McGinnis Award, the Duckabush Prize for Poetry and the Blethen Award for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting.

In the past eight years, PCA’s First Draft Writers’ Series has welcomed more than 75 nationally-known writers to the stage, including several state poet laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Local writers, including those just beginning, are invited to read their own 3-5 minute readings during Open Mic, following the featured author. The event is made possible by generous local donors. More information about the First Draft Writers’ Series is available at or by calling 541-310-7413.

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