Books
  • Furious Lullaby (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
    Furious Lullaby (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
  • Names Above Houses (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
    Names Above Houses (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry)
  • A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry
    A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry

  • Requiem for the Orchard (Akron Series in Poetry)
    Requiem for the Orchard (Akron Series in Poetry)

Anthologies

Oliver's work can also be found in the following anthologies.

  • Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing
    Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing
  • Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation
    Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation
  • Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond
    Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond
  • From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great
    From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great
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Online Poetry Journals

Oliver de la Paz’s Requiem for the Orchard is a love letter to memory and its ability to both sustain and shatter us beyond the “dust of ourselves,/ cold, decisive, and purely from the earth.” de la Paz renders in beautiful and exacting language the tenderness and ferocity of boyhood, alongside the enduring vulnerability of parenthood.  Out of such intimate recollection a generous wisdom blossoms.   

—Jon Pineda, author of
The Translator’s Diary

2nd Letter of Rebuke

Here is my second letter in light of the response from Vice President Burns on Wednesday:

 

 

July 31, 2015

 

Dear President Scarborough and the Board of Trustees:

 

 

 

            I am writing in response to the initial closure of the University of Akron Press as well as the statement by Vice President Burns on Wednesday that the press will be transferred to the library.

 

            I am deeply troubled and concerned by this turn of events as a five-time author with three books under contract with the University of Akron Press. I have been with the press since they published my book, Requiem for the Orchard as the 2009 Akron Poetry Prize Winner. I consider myself a stake holder in the press and I value my relationship with Thomas Bacher, Mary Biddinger, Amy Freels, and Carol Slater. They have been instrumental in assisting my work and the work of many authors from the initial editing stage to the marketing and promotion stages. The staff of the University of Akron Press are top notch. I have worked closely with other university presses and indeed, the University of Akron Press is among the best in terms of its reach and impact in the field of writing and scholarship.

 

            To move the press without its highly trained and competent staff strikes me as ill-founded. While it is not uncommon to move a university press into a division of the library system, it is highly irregular to do so without trained staff who have experience in editing, publishing, and marketing. Additionally, the Association of American University Presses requires that its member presses have a director and at least three employees. By placing the burden on an already short-staffed library system you are condemning what was once a highly successful academic press to failure.

 

            A university with a press is a university with an enormous local, national, and international reach in the academic community. By destroying this valuable resource, you are in fact gutting the academic and intellectual reputation of the University of Akron. You are also eliminating access and educational opportunities for your graduate and undergraduate students. Thomas Bacher offered a number of U. Akron students internship opportunities and classes through the press where they worked closely with the staff to produce books about local history, politics, race and culture, and of course, poetry. Under the tutelage of the University of Akron Press staff, your students are taught valuable and marketable skills that will, in the long run, enhance the profile of your university. I do not think for a second that the decision to move the press into the division of libraries without the oversight of trained professionals will be a serviceable bandage to the great harm done to the students who will now lack professional models in the publishing industry.

 

            Works published by the press have won awards and are widely lauded in classrooms at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. A Face to Meet the Faces, an anthology published by the University of Akron Press in 2011, was one of the best sellers in poetry because of the editing, marketing, and design work by done by the team at the press. The anthology alone boasted over 200 contributors, each of whom are writers, teachers, public speakers, and dignitaries in literary circles. The branding reach of the University of Akron Press holdings from this book alone is enormous. It is used in schools across the country and its own authors are promoting and selling the work nationally and internationally. All with the University of Akron brand and all because of the leadership of the University of Akron Press staff. And I'm only speaking about one book. Many of the books published by the press have gone on to win notable prizes. Susan Yuzna's book Her Slender Dress won the 1997 Norma Farber First Book Award and my own book, Requiem for the Orchard, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.

 

            Reinstate the press and the staff of the University of Akron Press. It is a highly active press with an national and international reputation. It is a vital resource and training opportunity for students at the University of Akron, and it is a significant branding opportunity for the University, providing a strong impression on the academic, writing, and publishing community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________

 

Oliver de la Paz

Professor of English

Western Washington University

516 High Street

Bellingham, WA 98225

(360) 650-2564

oliver.delapaz@wwu.edu

Terrible News RE: U. Akron Press

I just found out today that the University of Akron Press, which is the home to two of my books and an anthology I co-edited, has been shuttered due to budget cuts at the University of Akron. I've posted a protest letter on Facebook and Twitter. The letter is here:

 

 

Dear President Scarborough and the Board of Trustees:

 

            The decision to shut down vital humanities programs and institutions at the University of Akron is troubling and suspect.

            While I am sympathetic to universities facing budgetary shortfalls as a Professor at a similar Regional Comprehensive institution, cutting key programs that provide access to students who are interested in the arts as well as programs that support students of color is grossly negligent. Cutting the University of Akron Press, EJ Thomas Hall, and the Multicultural Center will cripple your students' and potential students' access to mentoring, apprenticeship opportunities, and vital services that are pivotal in to recruitment and retention.

            I am personally invested in the work of the University of Akron Press as one of its long-time press authors, having published three books with the press. I can attest to the national reputation of the press. Writers such as Beckian Fritz-Goldberg, Jeanne E. Clark, and John Gallaher, and Emilia Phillips are important writers with a national reach and strong reputations in the writing community. Additionally, A Face to Meet the Faces, an anthology Stacey Brown and I published through the University of Akron Press, includes work by many significant authors including Pulitzer Prize nominee, Cornelius Eady, National Book Award Finalist Patricia Smith, and host of other luminaries in the literary arts. The work produced by the press is used in high school, university, and college classrooms across the country and by closing the press you are irrevocably damaging the reputation of the University of Akron and the integrity of the University's mission to "ensure student success and leverage [your] region's assets in the creation of knowledge and application of research that benefits humankind."

            Cutting the University of Akron Press runs counter to the Vision 2020 plan which had been endorsed by the Board of Trustees under the previous administration. Indeed, a community and its university are "interlinked" as stated in the letter, and by cutting vital community-centered programs like the University of Akron Press, EJ Thomas Hall, and the Multicultural Center while spending  $375,000 on presidential house renovations clearly signifies an administration that is out of touch with its own community.

            I will be forwarding this letter to Americans for the Arts, Cave Canem, Canto Mundo, Kundiman, and a number of other national arts organizations who are invested in arts programming and student advocacy. Your tragically short-sighted decision has local, national, and long-term repercussions that will severely damage the reputation of the University of Akron.

____________________

 

Oliver de la Paz

Professor of English

Western Washington University

516 High Street

Bellingham, WA 98225

(360) 650-2564

oliver.delapaz@wwu.edu

Response 5

About half way through Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See. I'm really taken by his character Marie-Laure, who is blind, but whose sections are rich with description.
Another from the voice of the minotaur:

 

*Deleted*

Response 4

I realized, after finishing up Nick Flynn's My Feelings that I needed a 2nd POV in a manuscript in progress. Now, some of these jottings for my summer readings don't quite address this, but some of them do and will. Here's a draft of something. The POV feels true to my intention, so I think I'm going to rewrite some of the earlier pieces into 1st person. Anyway, here's the poem:

 

From an Index of Monstrous Things—Atrocious

 *DELETED*

After a weekend hiatus, more responses

I took a short break from writing and reading because the kids were out of their camps and daycare. I've started two new books--River of Shadow: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by (whom I adore) and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (whose first collection The Shell Collector was introduced to me by Papatya Bucak and whom I also adore). 

I've only got a response to the Solnit book which is a fascinating look at Eadweard Muybridge, inventor and father of film. 

I've been working on a sequence of ekphrastic poems and this small bit of what will be a longer poem is, in my mind, a spinal poem for a manuscript in progress.

Yes, it's not done and it's flat, but it's a draft . . . (stop apologizing Oliver). It's based on this photograph:

 

Here goes:

 *DELETED*

Response 2

Like the previous entry, this is also a response to Beth Bachmann's Do Not Rise. Only the draft I present here is actually my second attempt at the same poem.

Here's the problem when you write and compose directly on the laptop--programs crash. Sometimes programs crash while you're writing. Sometimes they crash when you haven't saved your work. This was what happened to me this afternoon--I had typed a poem which was roughly sonnet-sized. I was trying to save it. The program crashed. The first draft of the poem is gone. There's a lesson in all of this: SAVE YOUR WORK WHILE YOU'RE WRITING. 

Anyway, here's the second response to Beth's work. I responded to lines from her poem "sustainable."

And, by the way, the titles are just placeholdrs--I'm trying to force a secondary sequence into a current manuscript and using titles as a means to pry entry into that manuscript. It may or may not work.

 

 *DELETED*

Summer Reading Challenge and a response

I hope you are all having fun with the reading challenge. So far I've managed to read two of the books on my list: Beth Bachmann's Do Not Rise and Nick Flynn's My Feelings. I'm in the midst of juggling two books, but I'll mention those once I get through 'em.


One of the challenges I added for this Summer Reading List is a response in writing. It's to keep you accountable. I know I need to be held accountable. Anyway, here's my response to Beth Bachmann. I borrowed a line, but then it ended up being the image of the bloodshot eye after revision from her poem "bright one." 

I'll be back tomorrow with more writing and more responses, but for now, here's the poem:

 

*DELETED*

2015 Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

1) Pick 15 books that you would like to finish this summer--any genre, any size. This list doesn't have to be at 15 right from the start. It will grow as the summer continues.

2) Of the 15 books, designate 3 that you recommend to co-participants. (After you've read them, of course).

3) Of the 15 books, 3 of the books must be from recommendations by other participants.

4) Post your 15 book list somewhere with a link so that co-participants can link you on their webpages, tumblr pages, or blogs.

5) Hold yourself accountable by posting commentary about a book you've just read. Commentary can also take the form of something creative or artistic.

6) The Challenge Ends August 31st. Have fun.

 

*****

My list (so far):

 

1. All Aunt Hagar's Children--Edward P. Jones

2. All the Light We Cannot See--Anthony Doerr

3. Bluets--Maggie Nelson

4. If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?--Matthea Harvey

5. Ending in Planes--Ruth Kocher

6. On Looking--Lia Purpura

7. Yearling--Lo Kwa Mei-En

8. My Feelings--Nick Flynn

9. Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920's to the Present--Lesley Wheeler

10. Lighting the Shadow--Rachel Eliza Griffiths

11. The Americans--David Roderick

12. Open Secrets--Alice Munro

13. Do Not Rise--Beth Bachmann

14. River of Shadows--Rebecca Solnit

15. Demons in the Spring--Joe Meno