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MFA in Creative Writing - Low Residency

Oliver de la Paz


Oliver de la Paz
  • Personal


Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry, Names Above Houses (SIU Press 2001), Furious Lullaby (SIU Press 2007), Requiem for the Orchard (U. of Akron Press 2010) and the forthcoming Post Subject: A Fable (U. of Akron Press 2014). He is the co-editor of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, he co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American Poetry. He is also the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). A recipient of a NYFA Fellowship Award, and a GAP grant from Artists’ Trust, his work has appeared in journals like The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. He teaches at the creative writing MFA program at Western Washington University.

Mentor. 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.”