Poet Paul Willis Speaks at Downtown Lecture

Paul Willis, Westmont professor of English, will read selections from his award-winning collection “To Build a Trail: Essays on Curiosity, Love & Wonder.” Tuesday, October 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara Street.

The Westmont Downtown Lecture, “Not About the Numbers: What Really Matters in How We Learn” is free no tickets required; limited seating is available on a first-come first-served basis. For more information, please call (805) 565-6051.

Willis set out to build a couple miles of trail through the wilder parts of the Westmont campus, he did not know it would become a significant metaphor for teaching and learning. The paths of curiosity, love, and wonder all lead back to the main road of understanding. That is what he came to believe and what has put him in the present-day conflict of efficiency in education.

“To Build a Trail” won the 2018 Indies Bronze and Willis was recognized as an Indies Finalist for Autobiography and Memoir by Forward Review which honors the best books by independent publisher every year.

Willis, a Santa Barbara poet laureate from 2011-2013 has published several collections of poetry, including “Little Rhymes for Lowly Plants” (White Violets Press, 2019), “Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades” (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2018), “Getting to Gardisky Lake” (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016), “Say This Prayer into the Past” (Cascade Books, 2013), “Rosing from the Dead” (Wordfarm, 2009) and “Visiting Home” (Pecan Grove Press, 2008). He co-edited with David Starkey, “In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare” (University of Iowa Press, 2005). Willis has also published a variety of poems in journals such as Poems, Wilderness, Ascent, and Christian Century.

Paul Willis graduated from Wheaton College, earned his doctorate in English at Washington State University, and has been teaching at Westmont since 1988.