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Poetry Next in Libraries Series

Poetry of Mortality and Divinity Next in UC Riverside Libraries Author Series

Creative Writing Professor, Poet Maurya Simon Reads from “Ghost Orchid”

(April 7, 2004)

Maurya Simon

Maurya Simon

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — Maurya Simon, chair and professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, will read from her book of poetry, Ghost Orchid and will answer questions from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday April 14, 2004. It is the seventh talk of the 2003-04 UCR Libraries’ Author Series and will be Web cast live from the fourth floor of the Tomás Rivera Library, 900 University Ave., Riverside.

Copies of Ghost Orchid will be available for sale and signing after the event. For more information about the UC Riverside Libraries’ Author Series, call Special Collections at (909) 787-3233 or e-mail Melissa Conway, the head of Special Collections.

Ghost Orchid explores Simon’s highly personal perceptions of mortality and divinity through the prism of Judeo-Christian ideals and mythology at the start of the third millennium. The poems seek to balance daily and worldly events in both the sacred and the profane, as Simon struggles to understand what separates those realms, and to reconcile her longing for at least secular redemption.

The book is divided into five inter-connected, inter-related sections: “Between Heaven and Earth,” “Angels of Mercy,” “Lucifer in Starlight,” “The Soloist,” and “Unfinished Psalms.” Each section gathers poems based on shared themes such as mortality, goodness and compassion, the presence of the sacred, and so forth. Ultimately, Ghost Orchid strives to comprehend the unseen through the seen and lived, the apprehended, and the endured.

Simon is also the author of A Brief History of Punctuation (Sutton Hoo Press, 2002), The Enchanted Room and Days of Awe (Copper Canyon Press, 1986, 1989), Speaking in Tongues (Gibbs Smith, 1990), and The Golden Labyrinth (Univ. of Missouri Press, 1995). Her sixth volume of poetry, Weavers, is forthcoming from Blackbird Press. Professor Simon’s poems have appeared in several publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, the New England Review, and in more than thirty anthologies.

The monthly Author Series, which began in September 2002, brings the riches of the campus libraries to the community. According to organizer Melissa Conway, who heads UC Riverside’s Special Collections, the authors are all affiliated with UC Riverside. All UC Riverside Libraries’ Author Series events are free and open to the public.

Parking on campus is $6 per vehicle for the day or may be purchased for shorter periods at $2 per hour. Parking permits are available at the information kiosks near the University Avenue and the Canyon Crest Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard entrances.

The final event in this year’s series is:
May 19: Howard K. Wettstein, professor of philosophy, will speak on Diaspora and Exiles: Varieties of Jewish Identity (University of California Press, 2002), which he edited. Wettstein is also the author of Has Semantics Rested on a Mistake? and Other Essays (Stanford University Press, 1991), and The Magic Prism—An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (Oxford University Press, 2003), and numerous articles on the philosophy of language. Diaspora and Exiles considers the question of Jewish identity from the perspectives of anthropology, art history, comparative literature, history, philosophy, political theory, and sociology.

UC Riverside’s Libraries are the focal points for research and study on campus. Their collections include 2,081,146 volumes, 12,444 serial subscriptions and 1,672,042 microforms housed in five facilities: the Tomás Rivera Library (serving the humanities, arts and social sciences); the Science Library; the Music Library; Media Library; and Special Collections, housing rare books and manuscripts, and unique archival resources. For more about the UC Riverside Libraries, visit the Libraries Web site.
Ghost Orchid

Ghost Orchid



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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