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Cover of 'Presence - A Journal of Catholic Poetry'

On April 18th, 2019, Caldwell University’s English Department hosted a poetry reading in the Westervelt Lecture Hall to commemorate the release of the third edition of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. According to Dr. Mary Ann Miller, the editor-in-chief of Presence, “The journal seeks to show the wide variety of ways God’s presence is communicated to and experienced by human beings and, in so doing, hopes to create a community of writers who recognize Catholicism as fertile ground for the flourishing of contemporary poetry” ( The 2019 edition of the journal aptly contributes to its overarching mission of establishing community through writing due to its timely inclusion of poetry written by refugees. In partnership with the Faculty Commission of World Concerns, the English Department welcomed Arab American Book Award winner Gregory Orfalea and former Palestinian refugee and Professor Emeritus of American University in Cairo, Egypt Sharif Elmusa to read poems written by Syrian refugees, which were translated by Orfalea and Elmusa for this edition of Presence. Their translated works include “The Life of Photos” by Ibrahim Qa’duni, “A Door That Does Not Slap” by Wael al-Nassir, “Like a Bull Going Left & Right” by ‘Abir Abd al-Wahid, and “Life is Flight” by Lena ‘Atfa.