Friday, September 7, 2018

Literary works celebrated at Grossmont College Fall Reading Series

       A celebration of banned books, readings from former rock groupie Pamela Des Barres and a collection of poetry crafted by Grossmont College Professor Joe Medina are among the highlights in this year’s annual Fall Reading Series at Grossmont College that continues Sept. 12 with an Open Reading at the college library.  
      The annual Fall Reading Series showcases literature, award-winning authors and others with an inspiration to write. Events are sponsored by the English Department and Creative Writing Program of Grossmont College, as well as a variety of other campus agencies and programs.
          “We believe it’s important to celebrate authors and poets of various genres and styles – and to engage the aspiring writers within our community, too,” said English Professor Daniela Sow. “There is an undeniable power in reading and listening to diverse voices and experiences.”
         The series began Aug. 24 when contributors to the latest issue of the Acorn Review, Grossmont College’s student-produced literary journal, read from their works. Upcoming events include:

  • Chest-O-Drawers Press: An Open Reading on Wednesday, Sept.12, at 7 p.m. in the Grossmont College Library. Participants are invited to spend up to five minutes reading original writing from any creative genre, such as spoken-word poetry and flash fiction. 
  • Banned Books/Banned Lives Reading takes place Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. at Grossmont College’s Griffin Gate. This year’s event celebrating Banned Books Week from Sept. 23-29 honors the courage of literary voices with a reading by faculty, students and members of the San Diego Poetry Slam team showcasing original works on banned themes as well as banned writing of personal significance. Sponsored by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. The top 10 challenged books in the United States include ‘The Kite Runner,’ ‘George’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’
  • The 10th annual Lester Bangs Memorial Reading, featuring musician, author and former groupie Pamela Des Barres, takes place Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. at Grossmont College’s Griffin Gate. Des Barres is the author of several memoirs, including ‘Take Another Little Piece of My Heart,’ ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies’ and ‘I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.’ Leslie Conway “Lester” Bangs attended Grossmont College from 1966 to 1968 and was known by many as “America’s Greatest Rock Critic.” He wrote for Rolling Stone, The Village Voice and Creem, and he was portrayed by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in the 2000 Movie “Almost Famous.”
  • Joe Medina Reading and Book Launch is set for Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in Griffin Gate with Medina reading from his new poetry collection, ‘The Scorpion’s Mineral Eye.’ Medina, a professor of English, joined the Grossmont College faculty in 1987 and spearheaded the campus’s first Puente Project and launched the school’s first Celebration of Banned Books readings. This event is part of a regional reading tour to promote his new book.
  • New Voices: A Student Reading concludes the Fall Reading Series on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in Griffin Gate with students from the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program performing their original works of poetry, fiction and other genres.         Touted as the largest community college creative writing program in Southern California, the Creative Writing Program at Grossmont College seeks to cultivate a diverse literary community through efforts that include the Fall Reading Series, the Literary Arts Festival and the New Voices Student Reading.   Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. For further information about the series, contact Daniela Sow at