Friends and family will gather to honor the life and work of Chris Wygandt Alba

NORTH COUNTY — Friends and family will come together to remember local poet and writer Chris Wygandt Alba on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m.

A public reading of poems will be held at the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atascadero. Though Alba passed in 2018, her friends Elizabeth Sosaya and Dianne Gross-Giese curated Alba’s personal poems into a self-published book, which will be read at the tribute reading. Excerpts and poems of Alba’s will be read from “The Last Honesty.”

Sosaya met Alba at a monthly poetry reading at the St. Luke’s Church nearly 10 years ago.

“I noticed Chris right away,” said Sosaya of their meeting. “She had a huge personality. Listening to her reading, I could tell she was talented.”

For over 20 years, Alba was an editor and wrote for local and national magazines and newspaper publications — including Paso Robles Press and Paso Magazine, which often highlighted the history of Paso Robles. Working alongside the Paso Robles Main Street Association and competing in contests at the California Mid-State Fair, Alba found Paso Robles to be her home after college and became a valued member of the community.

In her collection of poems, Alba explores the sorrowful, humorous, and mysterious aspects of her life. Sosaya describes Alba’s overarching themes were depth and renewal. The cover of the book features one of Alba’s favorite works of art, “Tea” by Henri Matisse.

“The Last Honesty” was put together using two manuscripts written by Alba that were found in her office. Reading through these personal works of Alba, Sosaya got to know her friend on a deeper level leaving her to appreciate more than ever their friendship and her friend’s talent.

Below you can read one of Alba’s poems about her mother:

Mom Says Goodbye

After Alzheimer’s destroyed you,

You had one glowing day, clear as sunshine,

When your blue eyes twinkled at me. 

Your face was beautiful in its ancient joy.

You reached up and cupped my face

In your hands, smiling as you studied me. 

It’s wonderful, you said, and I knew

What you meant.

“The Last Honesty” is available on Amazon and at local shops, including the General Store Paso Robles.