Creative Writing Professor Maurya Simon Publishes New Book of Poetry

By Robert Bastone, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing


A Professor in the Creative Writing Department, Maurya Simon, has recently released a new book of poems entitled Ghost Orchid. The work features over 30 poems exploring the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of God and the idea of faith.

The book’s title originates from a rare type of flower that is indigenous to the swamps of the Everglades and been described as a “white frog suspended in air.” Simon uses the image of the ghost orchid as a metaphor for God because “the image is both beautiful and grotesque.” Explored through various forms of poetry, the collection focuses on the idea of religion and the sacred, and asks the central questions: “What are sin and evil?”

According to Simon, publishing and creating the book proved to be the most fulfilling part of Ghost Orchid. She added that she enjoyed collaborating with her mother, LA artist Baila Goldenthal, on the design for the cover. The book took her over six years to complete and is the sixth volume of poems she has published.

Professor Maurya Simon has been teaching at UCR for twenty years. She has just stepped down as chair of the Creative Writing Department. She completed her undergraduate work at UC Berkeley and Pitzer College, and received her Master’s of Fine Arts in English and Poetry from UC Irvine. She has been published in numerous periodicals including The New Yorker and the LA Times Book Review, and she has also been the recipient of many honors and awards both within and outside of her academic institutions.

Simon is currently in the process of writing several new works, and she has just completed a “novel-in-verse” entitled The Raindrops Gospel: The Trials of St. Jerome and St. Paula, which she anticipates will be released sometime in 2006. She is also working on three new book projects: one about ancient rock art in Mexico, the Southwest, and Europe, as well as a travel diary about India, featuring memoirs from her travels there, and, finally, an anthology of ekphrastic poetry, that is, of poems based on visual works of art. In the future, Professor Simon plans to further explore and pursue her interest in world religions, particularly Eastern religions and the ideas of eros and the divine.

For more information on Professor Maurya Simon please visit, http://www.creativewriting.ucr.edu/people/simon/simon.html

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