Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reading at California State University, Stanislaus yesterday was a true pleasure and an honor. I graduated from the university about fifteen years ago, and being invited back as a writer was both surreal and thoroughy enjoyable. I am especially grateful to Dr. Tony Perello and the Valley Voices Committee for inviting me, Sigma Tau Delta for its generous sponsorship, and Sarah from Sigma Tau Delta for the kind introduction. In the morning, I spoke to a creative writing class, whose professor had prepped them with three of my poems. We had a good exchange about the writing process, the metaphor, the nuances of various genres and how to write poems about the body, and the genesis of some of my work. The afternoon public reading was very well attended (I'd say over one hundred people--faculty, students, community members) and I appreciate all the kind people who came up to me after the reading and shared their thoughts. It was especially nice to see a few former professors of mine, since this reading was a good reminder just how much I learned from my time there. After the reading, some good friends and I went for Italian food at Vito's, across from the university, and after that I had the last of my scheduled events---a small group talk for students who live in the dorms. This was kindly arranged by the faculty-in-residence, who is also a poet, and although I was getting tired by this time, it turned out to be a wonderful close to the day. There were just four of us, but the students were so endearing and genuinely interested in my poems, I ended up signing a book for them and giving it to them for free. It was wonderful hearing about the students' studies in Drama and their experiences with travel. I talk to students every day about writing---I teach, after all---but this was a unique and very fulfilling occasion, to talk in depth with students from my alma mater and read from my book at the very university where I spent so much time reading, exploring, struggling, and dreaming about things I never could have imagined would come true.

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