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By Tyisha Ali / Staff Writer

As part of National Poetry Month, LBCC professors presented afternoons of poetry in The Marian Sims Baughn Center for Literary Arts.

On Thursday, April 23, former LBCC professor and award-winning poet Frank Gaspar returned to the center at the LAC in P104 once more for a reading and book signing along with Charla Howard, Jeff Epley, Jason Casem, Kathryn McMurray, Denise Dumars and Christina Guillen, who shared their poetry and what inspired them.

Gaspar is a former 30-year LBCC professor who has written five poetry books and two novels. Gaspar has won many awards, among them are the 2008 Portuguese American Leadership Council Literary Achievement Award and the 2000 California Book Award for First Novel for his 1999 novel “Leaving Pico.”

Gaspar read a few of poems out of his poetry books such as “Can You Hear the Wind Howl” from his 2004 poetry book “Night of a thousand Blossoms” and “Forget the Lemons.”

Maria Duarte, 29, a communications major and a former student of Gaspar, said, “When I came to LBCC, after I left high school, I had Professor Gaspar as my teacher for creative writing. Now that I am taking more classes here after getting my bachelor’s degree from CSULB and taking a 2-year break and I want to see him again.”

The book reading packed the room as Gaspar recited his new poem called “One of Us.”

Gaspar said, “When I do these events, I always want to read a new poem, just to show I’m still alive and still writing, I guess.” Then he talked about what it takes to be a writer, how he writes and he deals with writing poetry over time.

Jonathn Ribas, 24, an administration of justice major, said, “I’m not familiar with poetry, I write a lot, but I wasn’t sure if it was poetry and now I feel good, like I now have a sense of what I am doing. I really enjoyed what he said about writing poetry. It takes time. ”

Ribas said, “I would like to see more creative writing events like this. I think hearing more speakers like Gaspar and all the other professors would encourage many people.”

On Friday, April 17, award-winning poet Sholeh Wolpe visited a small crowd in the English Department for a reading and book signing of her latest books at the LAC in P104.

Wolpe is an Iranian born poet, author and literary translator who has traveled to many places before settling down in the U.S. She has written books of translation such as “Sin” and “Breaking the Jaws of Silence.” She has edited three anthologies and has three collections of poetry books. Wolpe is the recipient of the 2014 PEN/Heim Award.