WWU's Oliver de la Paz to read his latest poetry at Village books tonight at 7

Matthew Anderson
University Communications

Oliver de la Paz, an associate professor of English at Western Washington University, will read from "Requiem for the Orchard," his newest poetry book, at 7 p.m. today, April 12, at Village Books in Fairhaven.

A father of one (soon to be two), de la Paz wrote a lot about fatherhood in his latest collection.

"Being a father changes how you deal with work, how you deal with your outside life," he says. "You really start to think about what you’re doing, how you react, what you say. This book is me trying to figure out what kind of father I’d like to be."

At Western, de la Paz teaches creative writing, a discipline he says he enjoys. And one of the best ways to help students find their creative? Have them read other writers, de la Paz says.

"Anyone interested in writing is a reader first," he says. "My role as a teacher is to introduce my students to people they should read. Seeing what other authors have to offer serves them well, as does the ability to find additional authors to read."

Students are hungry to find their voices as writers, sometimes even worried about it. That’s precisely why de la Paz forces his students to read.

"I just think it’s too early to decide what your voice is going to be for the rest of your life," he says. "In college, you try on different acts, different faces, masks. They’re learning what they want to become."

Read more about de la Paz, his teaching and what inspires his own writing -- including "Requiem for the Orchard" -- at http://onlinefast.org/wwutoday/profile/6615.

Monday, April 12, 2010 - 10:27am