First Press Reading Series—April Event!

on the campus of Woodbury University in Burbank, California

The olive is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, grown before the written language was invented. In California, there are many isolated trees or fragments of old groves, such as the trees that still stand on the Woodbury campus. Traditionally, after harvest, oil was pressed in screw or hydraulic presses. The paste was subjected to increasingly high pressures with subsequent degradation in the flavor of the oil. Thus, the “first press” of oil was considered the most flavorful and desirable. ~ the Olive Oil Source, 2018

You are all welcome to MORIA’s First Press Reading Series on April 8th, which will take place from 4pm–6pm at the Ahmanson Main Space on the Woodbury University campus. We are hosting Heidi Seaborn and Reuben Ellis as the featured readers!


Heidi Seaborn, who comes to us from Seattle, is the author of the award-winning debut collection of poetry Give a Girl Chaos (see what she can do), out in March 2019 from C&R Press’s Mastodon imprint. Her poem, "tealeaves," appeared in MORIA’s Issue One and a suite of six poems from the new book form the centerpiece of Issue Three, due out on April 29th. Of her book, we learn that it is “a lyric guide to harnessing chaos—from a world swirling in terrorism, war, natural disaster to the chaos of heart, home, body and family. Through poems that ache with beauty and violence, Give a Girl Chaos (see what she can do) reveals that by controlling chaos, we can achieve resilience, power and ultimately joy” (Mastodon, 2019).

Seaborn has commented about her career as poet that “[a]s a teenager I wrote poetry and was published. Then I grew up and lost the plot for nearly 40 years. After three kids, 27 moves, a successful business career, failed marriages and one that is working out wonderfully, I started writing poetry again in 2016.”

Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Nimrod, Mississippi Review, Penn Review, Yemassee Journal, American Journal of Poetry, in her chapbook, Finding My Way Home (Finishing Line Press), and in a political pamphlet, Body Politic (Mount Analogue). She has been shortlisted for over a dozen poetry prizes and is a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets.

She is now studying for her MFA in Poetry at New York University and serves as Poetry Editor of the prestigious The Adroit Journal and is on the Board of Tupelo Press.

Ellis Photo 2.jpg

Reuben Ellis’s academic career spans more than 35 years and has included teaching literature and writing—particularly creative writing and journalism—as well as courses in interdisciplinary studies and innovative field-based courses focusing on the relationship between literature and place. Ellis has been part of Woodbury University since 2010. In 2013, he became the Chair of the Writing Department, and, in January, he was named Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts

His scholarly books include Vertical Margins: Mountaineering and the Landscapes of Neo-Imperialism; Stories and Stone: Writing the Ancestral Pueblo Homeland; Beyond Borders: The Selected Essays of Mary Austin, as well as many published essays on literature and writing. His current work-in-progress, The Last Place on Earth, is a book-length project that looks at contemporary experience in the American southwest through the lens of ancient Puebloan ruins and rock art.

As for his creative writing, Ellis has published works of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction since the 1970s, but his debut chapbook of poems, Formula, has just been released this winter by Finishing Line Press. Fellow poet Miles Waggener remarks that it “contains twenty-two stunning performative pieces, poems that travel into the very earth beneath our boots, even if, as the poet tells us, there is no outside to language” (FLP, 2019).

Ellis recently sat down for an interview for WU Radio.

ELLIS-REUBEN-PC Single_Page card.jpg

At the April 8th event, there will be an open mic, where anyone who would like to read their work is invited to share a short piece. There will also be light refreshments, food, and fun to be had!

Woodbury University’s address is 7500 N Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, CA 91504. There is guest parking available on campus, so just introduce yourself to the security guards at the entrance gate, and they will direct you to the Ahmanson Main Space.

Please RSVP on the form below so that we have an idea of how many people to expect. Hope we will see you there!


Douglas Manuel       September 30th

Lory Bedikian           November 11th

Richard Garcia          February 24th

Lynne Thompson      April 27th

Name *
Name of person attending. If you are responding for a party of people, just your name is required.
Total Number of People *
Confirm the number of people you are responding for.


Heidi Seaborn and Reuben Ellis, April 2019

Suzanne Lummis, February 2019 (WORDSHOP)

Désirée Zamorano, November 2018

Brendan Constantine, October 2018 (WORDSHOP)

Naoko Fujimoto and Angela Narciso Torres, April 2018 (WORDSHOP)

Chiwan Choi, April 2018

Linda Dove, February 2018

Neil Aitken and Mike Sonksen, November 2017