Oliver de la Paz
Oliver de la Paz is the author of six collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth which was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry. His sixth book, The Diaspora Sonnets, is forthcoming from Liveright Press, an imprint of W.W. Norton, in 2023. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NEA, NYFA, the Artist’s Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.
Mentor. Workshops and classes in poetry.
Statement: “I encourage students to think of themselves not as isolated individuals, but as members of a learning community. For me, the writing workshop is a place where students improve their skills in reading, critical thinking, interpretation, and communication through engagement with their own texts and with those written by others. To be members of a learning community, I teach my students that verbal and written communication are inextricable, neither can take place successfully if students do not listen to each other. In order for them to grow as members of a learning community, I challenge the class to ask critical questions, engage in civil discourse, and aim to learn from each other. I do not see learning as fixed or hierarchical, but rather as a process of growth that occurs on multiple levels.
Additionally, by speaking to students about my own struggles with the writing experience, I guide them, helping them tackle their own difficulties with writing in a way that best suits their individual needs as both writers and students. In engaging in a dialogue with them about the process, I try to make them aware that the act of writing takes time and that many of those who do live the writing life go through frustrations but also great joys. “