Poets Oliver de la Paz and Jon Pineda share their latest works with G-Burg
By Anika Jensen, Staff Writer
Writers Jon Pineda and Oliver de la Paz shared their poetry and prose on Tuesday, March 17 in Joseph Theater in an event sponsored by Writing House, EPACC, College Life and The Gettysburg Review. De la Paz served as Gettysburg’s Emerging Writer Lecturer from 1999-2000, and though Pineda was offered the same position, he did not accept.
“I know there’s a bag of tomatoes in the back,” Pineda remarked as he stood to present, though he expressed his regret that he could not take the job.
The professor of creative writing at the University of Mary Washington has published a novel, a memoir and three collections of poetry and on Tuesday read a section of his novel Apology.
In a voice overflowing with emo t ion Pineda r e cited unadorned yet eloquent prose following the love stories and essential moments that comprise the lives of his characters.
Pineda followed with prose poems including “Strawberries” and “Ceiling and Ground,” works through which he intended to increase the engagements of his readers by taking away traditional punctuation.
“Ceiling and Ground,” inspired by a trip Pineda took to Luray Caverns with his wife and children, drew laughter from the audience as he described his young daughter removing a pacifier from her mouth and promptly hurling it into a dark chasm. Pineda commented that he realized the trip “might not have been the best idea.”
Oliver de la Paz, the author of four collections of poetry and a professor at Western Washington University and Pacific Lutheran University, was then introduced to share his work. He began by reading two of his newer poems, “Boy. Child Without legs. Getting off a chair,” and “Nocturne with a Stack of Trepanned Skulls Facing Right,” both of which are inspired by the photography of Eadweard Muybridge.
De la Paz also read from “Post Subject: A Fable,” a collection of poetic epistolaries all addressed to a figure named Empire.
The letters, he explained, were based on postcards and images of war. “It was kind of a bummer of a manuscript,” de la Paz said about “Post Subject.”
He finished with poems inspired by his childhood in Ontario, Oregon, where he claimed there was “nothing to do but get into trouble, drink and bowl.” These final works included “School Years,” “In Defense of Small Towns” and “Self Portrait Beside a Dead Chestnut Horse.”