Ibis Literary Reading series kicks off, encourages audience to stretch their minds

The annual IBIS Literary Reading and Performance Series got under way Sept. 12 with readings by three distinguished poets.

The University of Miami’s creative writing program is hosting the series, which features a number of artists sharing their works of poetry. This year’s series’ kick-off featured UM faculty member Jaswinder Bolina, MFA alumnus Neil de la Flor and author Oliver de la Paz. The event, held in the College of Arts and Science (CAS) gallery in the Wesley Foundation Building, was free and open to the public.

De la Flor was the first to speak. He read different poems from his two books “Almost Dorothy” and “An Elephant’s Memory of Blizzards.” He also talked about why he liked poetry so much.

“You can have fun with your language and just don’t care,” he said. For “Almost Dorothy,” he won the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize.

Bolina read from his award-winning book “Phantom Camera.” The newest member of the creative writing faculty, Bolina has won many honors, including the 2012 Green Rose Prize for “Phantom,” as well as the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry for “Carrier Wave.” His poems and essays have appeared in “The Best American Poetry” series, as well as in many U.S. and international literary journals.

To finish out the event, De la Paz shared some of his favorite poems with the audience. He is the author of books such as “Names Above Houses, Furious Lullabies.” De la Paz won the Akron Poetry Prize for his book “Requiem for the Orchard.” His works have also appeared in numerous journals.

The audience seemed to enjoy a night full of literature and culture. The CAS gallery was filled with students, professors and other visitors, who later had the opportunity  buy some of the poets’ works.

Freshman Alex Jean-Baptiste, who attended the event, said he believes college students need to read more.

“It is an opportunity to travel in your mind,” said Jean-Baptiste, who is now taking a poetry class with Bolina.

Another attendee, freshman Nadijah Campbell, also finds these type of events are beneficial.

“It makes better conversation,” she said. “It opens up people’s minds.”

The next event will not take place until Feb. 6. For more information contact Creative Writing Director M. Evelina Galang at mgalang@miami.edu.