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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Entries in University of Akron Press (9)

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

Book Trailer for Post Subject: A Fable

The book will be out August 1st!

 

Here's the trailer by Caleb Young and the good folks at Handcrank Films:

 

http://youtu.be/KbuJJoDwiMU

A Face to Meet the Faces is Here!

 

Stacey kept texting me yesterday with updates. She was tracking the package from the University of Akron. When I got home after picking up the kids from daycare, I saw the box outside our front door. Yay!


Stacey and I tried to open the boxes simultaneously via Skype, but I couldn't get the damn thing to work due to my poor ISP. Anyway, I snapped a couple of photos today.

 

A Face to Meet the Faces--Cover Art

Two versions of the same cover.

Version #1

Version #2

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The difference is subtle. I won't tell you what the difference is, but it's easy enough to figure out.

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Again, the anthology is due out in February. We're in the midst of final copy-edits.

 

Requiem for the Orchard Finalist for the Washington State Book Award

I am pleased to announce that Requiem for the Orchard is a Finalist for the Washington State Book Award. The winner was Frances McCue's The Bled.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

 

2011 Washington State Book Award in Poetry:

The Bled by Frances McCue (Factory Hollow)

 

Finalists:

Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room by Kelli Russell Agodon (White Pine)

The Morning News Is Exciting by Don Mee Choi (Action Books)

Requiem for the Orchard by Oliver de la Paz (University of Akron Press)

The Alchemist’s Kitchen by Susan Rich (White Pine)

 

Congratulations to my fellow finalists and to Frances McCue!

Requiem for the Orchard Available as an E-Book

Allegory, Writing Retreats, Garden Plots, and Other Musings

I've been writing in the allegorical mode for many years now, and I wondered about this while I was having an e-mail conversation with a poet friend who commented that he could never write as anyone but himself. I suppose it has to do with my own personality. I'm not that comfortable writing as myself. Other poets do it quite well and can use the self to create an allegorical mode, but I just find my own life too boring. The one notable exception to this trend in my "collected works" is Requiem for the Orchard. That collection was a big departure for me in terms of my favored narrative mode. I don't think I'd ever be able to duplicate something like that, but I also want to clarify that there are some allegorical poems in that collection. And that's also not to say that some of the narrative moments in that book aren't written with some poetic license.

Basically, I hate writing about myself. Artistic statements or statements that trumpet my accomplishments are, frankly, awful things for me. This translates itself into my poetic modes as well.

My confessions are allusions.

And so all these prose poems written as allegories as well as all these nocturnes.

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Sarah, Aimee, Joseph, Vikas, Patrick, and Jennifer are going to Millay. I'm SO jealous that they're going, but I couldn't make it work financially. Hopefully they get some writing as well as some serious play accomplished up there.

I've never really been to a writing retreat. Although I had the opportunity to use a house for a month after receiving my GAP grant, I couldn't stay for prolonged periods of time because of childcare issues. Ultimately, I'm not 100% sure it's something that would work for me, given my short attention span and my hyperactivity. I'd probably do other people's laundry or knock on the other fellows cabin doors bugging the hell out of 'em.

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We're putting together a vegetable garden. I've got pictures of our plot, but right now my internet connection is slow. I'll try to post a picture of our cleared land some time today.

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Stacey and I have been working with U. of Akron Press for covers. We'll post some ideas soon! A lot of good cover possibilities out there. Can't wait to show you!

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This has surely been one of the coldest Summers I've ever experienced. We've been having highs in the mid 60's which is perfectly comfortable for me. I'm at the point where I don't do well with extreme heat. I feel sorry for you folks out in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

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Current Spin: