Paul Willis

Paul Willis

Paul Willis, a professor of English at Westmont College and Santa Barbara’s poet laureate, and Coyote Road neighbor Gudrun Bortman are hosting “Remembering the Tea Fire: A Community Reading” from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Hieronymus Lounge in Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.

At least 17 community poets will present at the gathering.

“Any and all are welcome to read a poem or two to mark the anniversary of — and perhaps our distance from — this traumatic event,” Willis said. “The poems could be ones you have written yourself or simply ones that you have chosen to fit the occasion.”

Willis, who earned a doctorate in English at Washington State University, has taught at Westmont since 1988. Both he and Bortman lost their homes in the 2008 Tea Fire, which destroyed 210 homes in Santa Barbara and Montecito.

“Come one, come all, to unite with our neighbors in a time of connection and even, perhaps, a time of healing,” Willis said.

For more information or to be added to the list of presenters, call Willis at 805.565.7174.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.