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“Long Beach Celebrates” Event Returns to Campus May 5-6

Published: May 1, 2009

“Long Beach Celebrates” returns to campus with “Writing Place in Southern California” on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5-6, from 7-9 p.m. in the Pyramid Annex Conference Center. Admission is free.

Co-sponsored by CSULB’s Departments of English and Geography as well as the College of Liberal Arts and the English Students Association, the two-day event features readings by a variety of Southern California authors.

“This event is a celebration of some of the great things that the CSULB English Department does,” said English’s George Hart, who joined the university in 2002 and who teaches a class in environmental writing. “Long Beach Celebrates began last year in recognition of Gerald Locklin, who retired after a five-decade career in the Department of English. That first event drew a strong response and we feel it is a great way for the campus to connect with the community. We hope to make this an annual event.”

Last year, the Department of English honored retiring Locklin by organizing “Long Beach Celebrates West Coast Writing.” The event featured a panel discussion on West Coast writing, a reading by graduating MFA creative writing students, a reading for the student-published literary journal RipRap, and a gala reception for Locklin.
On Tuesday, May 5, the theme will be “Environmental Writing in Southern California” accompanied by a reading and discussion. Featured speakers will include Jennifer Price, a Los Angeles river tour guide and author of Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in LA and Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America. Also on hand will be Brad Monsma, a faculty member at CSU Channel Islands and author of The Sespe Wild: Southern California’s Last Free River and Bill Fox, a poet and author of Making Time: Essays on the Nature of Los Angeles and In the Desert of Desire: Las Vegas and the Culture of Spectacle.

On Wednesday, May 6, the evening focuses on “Writing Place in Southern California” accompanied by a reading and discussion. Specials guests will be D.J. Waldie, author or Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir and Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles. Also due to speak is poet Gail Wronsky, a faculty member at Loyola Marymount University and author of Blue Shadow Behind Everything Dazzling and Poems for Infidels.

“These authors will discuss the character of Southern California as a place what makes its communities unique,” said Hart. “The authors’ works will be available for purchase after they talk about how they see themselves as environmental writers and what it means to write about the Southern California environment.”
Hart especially encourages CSULB student participation. “This is their opportunity to hear writers who are part of their community and their chance to think about southern California as a place,” he said. “These are writers who are passionate about place and environment. It is a chance to bring together these talented writers in an interesting new way.”

Hart beckons both campus and community to attend. “If they are at all interested in writing about the environment and how writers get us to care about a place, then they should come,” he said. “They will have a chance to interact with the authors and ask questions. It is a nice event for students, faculty members, staff and the community.”