Ten years ago, Anna Leahy, the director of Chapman University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, remembers her and her colleague Logan Esdale wanting to bring poets Jen Bervin, Nancy Kuhl, and Richard Deming to visit their classrooms.
Tabula Poetica: The Center for Poetry at Chapman University was born as a way to formalize these class visits into a reading series.
The name is an amalgamation of tabula rasa (the Latin phrase for blank slate) and ars poetica (the art of poetry).
For their anniversary event on Dec. 9, Leahy, who also directs the center, invited every poet that had ever been part of their series for a celebration reading, as a way to acknowledge their contributions to the center.
The 14 poets scheduled to read include Tony Barnstone, Michelle Bitting, Stephanie Brown, Hélène Cardona, Genevieve Kaplan, Katie Manning, Elline Lipkin, Patty Seyburn, Lynne Thompson, Lorene Delaney Ullman, Allison Benis White, Cecelia Woloch, Sholeh Wolpe and Leahy herself.
Dean Jennifer Keene will give opening remarks, and the Department of English at Wilkinson College will host.
The Tabula Poetica poetry readings are usually held in the university’s Leatherby Libraries or the Fish Interfaith Center, but the anniversary reading will be at the larger Wallace All Faiths Chapel, which Leahy calls “one of the most beautiful spaces on campus and very welcoming for poetry.”
“What’s terrific about these culmination events is the variety of voices and perspectives,” she says. “It’s really exciting and a testament to poetry as something that defines us as human.”
IF YOU GO
What: Tabula Poetica: 10 Year Anniversary Reading & Reception
Where: Wallace All-Faiths Chapel at Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University, One University Drive Orange
When: Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
Information: events.chapman.edu/76524; wine and light refreshments provided