The Hermit Poet

December 11, 2006

Alma Mater on the Map (and in the News)

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 11:02 pm

From a recent LA Times article (Dec 9), we get the following glowing comments about my alma mater, UC Riverside:

For Morton and others who believe in the power of literature, a true picture of the IE’s ethnic diversity and struggles may be just what the place needs. “What’s striking about the book is the sheer quality of writing coming out of the Inland Empire, especially the writing program at UC Riverside,” said Mike Davis, an author and urban theorist known for his apocalyptic works on L.A., “City of Quartz” and “Ecology of Fear.”

Fontana-born Davis, who has a piece in the book, said the Riverside program is turning out some of the best young writers in the country. Students at the more celebrated UC Irvine program (where Davis once taught) have the writing chops but not the multigenerational, multiethnic life experiences of kids in the IE.

“This is the future now,” Davis said. “This is where young voices are apt to be most interesting.”

It’s nice to see that UC Riverside is finally getting the recognition that it deserves. It makes me proud to be part of that genesis. As my friend Ky-Phong notes in his email, hearing this makes me want to step up my game even more.

Read the full article here

I had a good friend who attended NYU at the same time I was at UC Riverside.  Whenever she returned to LA during a holiday break, we’d compare notes on our experiences in our respective programs.  And more often than not, I came away feeling that UC Riverside was providing me with the better experience.  While I didn’t have Philip Levine as a teacher (which might have been fun — or brutal), I did have more time on a weekly basis with each of my professors.  And more than that, I established real friendships with them — something that might not have happened at a larger program.  The feedback I received and the personal conversations I had with them as I worked on my manuscript and other projects were invaluable to me.  In fact, this is where the real education happened.

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