Writer Luis Urrea To Read at Amherst Books Feb. 22

February 2, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.--The writer Luis Urrea will read from his work at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Amherst Books (8 Main St.). Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center and the Scott Turow Fund, the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Urrea is the critically acclaimed author of nine books of fiction, poetry, memoir and journalism. His most recent book, The Devil's Highway (2004), is the best-selling account of a group of Mexican men who died while attempting to cross the Sonoran desert into the United States in May 2001. The Miami Herald describes the book as "a politically austere account of the tragedy that he calls 'the big die-off, the largest death event in border history.'" The Los Angeles Times calls the story "nothing less than a saga on the scale of the Exodus and an ordeal as heartbreaking as the Passion - 'a savage gospel of the crossing,' as Urrea puts it."

Urrea has received many honors, including an American Book Award, entry into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame and a 2004 Lannan Literary Award.

He was born in Tijuana and now lives with his family in Chicago, where he is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website, www.amherst.edu/~cwc.


Ishle Yi Park, the Poet Laureate of Queens, To Perform At Amherst College Feb. 8

February 1, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.--Ishle Yi Park, the poet laureate of Queens, will perform a mix of poems, spoken-word raps and songs on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Frontroom of the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Asian Students Association and the Amherst College English Department, the event is free and open to the public.

Park, a Korean-American woman born and raised in Queens, was named the borough's third poet laureate last year. The New York Times described her as "an operatic 26-year-old who seems to delight in flouting people's expectations" who combines "an angelic face and the soul of a rock star." Her CD, Work is Love, is available at www.ishle.com and includes tracks with Korean traditional drums, Spanish guitar, beatboxing and music produced by Japan's critically acclaimed DJ Honda.

She is the author of The Temperature of Water (Kaya Press, 2004), recipient of a fiction grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a Gregory Millard Fellow. Her work has been published in over 20 anthologies, including The Beacon Best of 2001 and The Best American Poetry of 2003, edited by Pulitzer-Prize-winning Yosuf Komunyakaa.

Ishle has performed across the United States, Cuba and Korea. She is the first Korean-American woman ever to compete and feature on the finals stage at the National Poetry Slam. She was featured in "Russell Simmons Presents: Def Poetry Jam" on HBO, and appeared on the NAACP Image Awards reading a tribute poem to Venus and Serena Williams.

Ishle works in New York City and across the country to bring Asian-American artists into public high schools, and has taught creative writing in high schools, colleges, prisons and community centers throughout New York and California.