Featured Writer: Bess Whitby

artwork by Marco Zavala

artwork by Marco Zavala

edited by courtney marie

Today’s featured writer is the Bess there is, a busy little Whitby that’s been helping build this ‘web since the very first showcase we organized in the summer of 2012. All puns aside, if you don’t know Bess Whitby or her work, we’re so excited for you to read on! Though she has an MA in creative writing from UNT and has proven herself time and time again to be an immensely talented poet, essayist, and editor, putting Bess in the box of writer feels a just little off, because she’s also a dedicated musician, creative crafter, and thoughtful artistic collaborator and dynamic storyteller who has been an absolute joy to create with over the years. As far as Spiderweb goes, Bess has done it all: zine editor, food writer, poet, copywriter, cellist, guitarist, singer, emcee, homeless cat, devious witch, enthusiastic flowergirl, dinosaur operator, and so much more. Today we’ve very #pleased to share a beautiful poem of Bess’ At Cape Disappointment, accompanied by its very own illustration by the great Marco Zavala.



I lose my sense of scale. So much driftwood and bramble
and the canopy overhead (It’s like Jurassic Park, you say)

I almost forget this place isn’t mine, that I didn’t come
from these trees or the black glittering sand.

Today I meet the Pacific for the very first time.
She is cool and clear. Reminds me of my mother.

I could stay here for hours, play fighting at swords
with sunbleached sticks, watching someone’s dog unleashed

at Deadman’s Hollow. North Head is up the trail,
a palisaded lighthouse view of earth’s last reach for miles.

What audacity they had, the men who named this place—to see
the edge of everything and call it disappointment.

Audacious too, the men who built Fort Canby up the path
to spoil these woods with mortars, drills, cement.

We probe the mossy battery and almost roll our ankles.
Our voices lose their mooring in the dark at Harvey Allen.

These days it feels like everything bears some secluded scar.
I think that I would marry you here, in the pristine Hollow surf,

if not for all the rusted shells still littering the ground.

Bess Whitby | photo by Mateo Aaron Granados for The Dentonite

Bess Whitby | photo by Mateo Aaron Granados for The Dentonite

Bess is a writer, cellist, and long-time Spiderwebber living in Denton. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of North Texas and currently works as the marketing manager for UNT Press. Bess has helped organize Spiderweb shows for almost five years. Her work has appeared in dozens of the Salon's zines.

Did you enjoy this feature? Be sure to check out Spiderweb’s other featured artists, writers, and musicians here!