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Colorado poet, writer and activist Laura Hershey died suddenly Friday, November 26, 2010 at the age of 48.
As a fellow of the 2010 Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, she inspired many of her peers.
“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Laura long. But during the week we shared at the Lambda Literary retreat, I was lucky to know her deeply, and the imprint she made on me will last as long as I do,” wrote 2010 Writers’ Retreat Fellow, Ilse Bendorf.
“Laura was witty and generous, smart and fierce and kind. Her Lambda family misses her beyond our words and was shaken by this sudden loss. We wish to share our hearts with her family and the many others Laura touched with her life and words.”
An adamant equal rights activist, Hershey wrote:
“We have to demand the things that are essential to our lives, equality, and quality of life…We must refuse to feel gratitude for these, except the normal level of gratitude that anyone might feel for living in a time and place that still supports human life.”
Her poems appeared in Calyx, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review, Trillium Literary Journal, wordgathering.com and the anthology Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights.
She was an essayist for Ms., Waccamaw Journal, National Parks, and U.S. News & World Report.
Finishing Line Press will publish her most recent book of poems, Spark Before Dark, in June 2011. Request review copies here.
Hershey suffered from spinal muscular atrophy. A former poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy’s annual fundraisers, Hershey later protested the way the telethon raised money.
She is survived by her partner of 20 years, Robin Stephens, and their daughter Shannon.