CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Can Books Build Community?

Putting California’s Inland Empire on the Literary Map

Ahtziri and I are sitting on a stone garden bench outside the church in Riverside, California, where my children take piano lessons. In her hand is a stack of papers—typed forms for me to sign, neatly handwritten manuscript pages, and sketches of fictional characters with names and biographical information.

I have been asked to mentor Ahtziri, a 17-year-old high school senior, through the process of writing a novel for her A.P. English class. I am not a novelist, but I am a poet, and I direct a nonprofit—the Inlandia Institute—whose mission …

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