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Austin Poet Susan Bright Dies

Austin poet and publisher Susan Bright with fellow poet Ali F. Bilir.
Image courtesy of the family of Susan Bright.
Austin poet and publisher Susan Bright with fellow poet Ali F. Bilir.

The term “force of nature” can be overused. But Susan Bright’s friends say, in her case, that description may not be enough.

The poet, publisher and Barton Springs advocate lost a short battle with cancer Wednesday morning. She was 65.

Bright was also the founder of Plain View Press. It’s a publishing house for local authors, and it has turned out over 350 titles so far.

Irene Pickhardt was a friend of Bright, and remembers her deep involvement in community issues.

“She had intersecting circles throughout this community that started with women’s work, with writing, with the environment, with activism,” Pickhardt told KUT News

That activism included supporting a weekly anti-war demonstration in front of the State Capitol called Women in Black.

Bright also counted among her friends John Aielli, the host of KUT’s Eklektikos. He had her on his program several times. The two would also run into each other at Barton Springs Pool, which she worked to preserve.

“Susan is a jolly fellow,” Aielli recalled, “and a robust character and very unafraid to express her opinions, and was a big shaker in the Save Barton Springs [movement].”

On one of his “Aielli Unleashed” podcasts in 2009, he invited Bright to read a poem she’d written about a discussion of the removal of some trees near Barton Springs Pool. The poem was called “Legend.” The final stanza read, "It is said the thirst of earth’s great trees calls water from depths which are invisible, causing springs to flow."

Susan Bright’s family has established a memorial website that will have information on services and remembrances.

Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon. During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.