Biographical - WJ Ray
Francis Locke, Christopher Locke and William Ray
1953, Silver Spring, Maryland
Photo by Mary Rose Locke
WJ Ray, born in Washington D.C., migrated West in 1955 and finally to Willits California, located in the coastal mountain range, where he became a homesteader with his family in 1971. He is retired from his work as a rural carrier with the US Postal Service. The valley seen in the picture below is where he lived from age twenty-seven to late maturity. The poetry and thought contained in this website rise from that place.
He was a singer as a child, a gift he internalized in letters and diaries as he grew older. His friend Daniel Marlin, whose paintings and watercolors are featured here, encouraged him to write. In addition to essays on political and cultural topics, he turned to poetry as a natural outlet for the joy and anguish of living.
Since 1985, WJ Ray has produced poetry and read in small town gatherings that included Miriam Patchen, Gary Snyder, and Sharon Doubiago. During that phase of American history he participated in arrests, campaigns, and Congressional visits to halt the perversely immoral path of an increasingly militarist state, controlled by corporate calculation.
His thought and poetry have been widely published regionally as an expression of kinship with fellow Americans and world citizens to whom the earth is our sacred home.
He considers that his family is the most miraculous gift of his life.
Photo by Amy Melious, 1994