Welcome FUSE 2015!

Posted November 4, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: News, Upcoming Events

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Happy to cross-post from the blog at The Blue Route, the undergraduate online literary magazine run by English and Creative Writing faculty and students here at Widener.  We’re delighted to welcome the annual conference for the Forum of Undergraduate Student Editors starting tomorrow!  You can follow along on Twitter at #FUSE15.

Panels featuring students from Shippensburg University, Susquehanna University, Cabrini College, Warren Wilson College, SUNY Geneseo, Mary Baldwin College, St. Louis University, Cedar Crest College, Bowling Green State University, UCLA, Drexel, and Ursinus College will focus on topics ranging from designing an online journal and developing a personal aesthetic as an editor, to promoting campus magazines and evaluating submissions.

Students have been working hard to put this together, and we can’t wait!



Dinty Moore Visits Widener

Posted October 15, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: News

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On October 14, Widener English and Creative Writing was pleased to host noted author Dinty Moore as the fall Distinguished Visiting Writer.  Moore directs the Creative Writing Program at Ohio University, and is the editor of Brevity:  A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.

Moore read from his most recent book, Dear Mr. Essay Writer Guy, a collection of humorous prompts supplied by other well-known essayists, and Moore’s essays in response.  An audience of faculty and students was treated to Moore’s thoughts on growing up Catholic, being a father to a teenaged daughter, and what it means to meet your writer heroes and have them turn out to be much different from how you might have imagined.

Dinty Moore reads at Widener

Dinty Moore reads at Widener

After several days of workshops and an excellent reading, I think we can all say that meeting Dinty Moore and hearing his work was just as enjoyable an experience as we could have imagined!

Collingswood Book Festival: Featuring Sam Starnes

Posted September 29, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: News, Uncategorized, Upcoming Events

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Calling all book lovers!  Check out the Collingswood Book Festival, this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 3.  With pavilions devoted to fiction and nonfiction, YA, and poetry, it looks like there’s something for everyone.

41LTaC8UiBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_And make sure to catch our own Sam Starnes, who will be reading from his most recent novel Red Dirt.  Read the great review on Philly.com if you’d like to know more.

Job and Internship Roundup!

Posted September 8, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: Careers, Internships, Ruminations

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Turk’s Head Review and the Chester Writers’ House are still looking for interns.  Not sure if you should apply?  Read this post by guest blogger Kirbee Veroneau, a student at Millersville University.  She did an internship with Turk’s Head Review and was kind enough to share her thoughts:


No matter what your major is, chances are you’ll probably want to have an internship under your belt before you graduate college. For English and Creative Writing majors especially, I can tell you first-hand how vital it is to have that experience.

At Millersville University, I’m an English Education major with a concentration in Writing Studies. While my internship is basically planned for me (student teaching), it was still up to me to meet the requirement for a “co-op experience” for my Writing Studies concentration. When I first saw that I had to not only complete an internship, but go out and find one on my own with barely any help, I was a little overwhelmed and, admittedly, a little annoyed. Completing an internship was not something I felt I had the time or energy to do, especially with schoolwork and the various organizations I’m a part of taking up all my time.

After a couple months of looking around, I was able to find an internship opportunity with James Esch’s Spruce Alley Press. I immediately was so excited. Writing and publishing were two things that I really wanted to do. Yes, I want to teach, but publishing had always been something that intrigued me and I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes of how that works and be able to write outside of the school’s constraints of mainly formal essays.

For me, personally, I had an extremely positive experience with my internship. It helped me in ways I never even thought it could. For example, I’ve become much better at time management. That’s a skill you need for the rest of your life, not just until your required “however-many-hours” comes to an end. I’ve learned about the kind of writer I am and had the opportunity to develop my written voice and become much more comfortable with that voice.

Experience, whether it be positive or negative (yep, negative experiences are helpful in the learning process too) is something you’ll want. If you’re sitting there rolling your eyes, I don’t blame you. A few months ago, that’s how I felt too. Yes, you can gain experience on your own from writing for yourself and developing your own stories and voices through blogging or writing poetry or whatever; however, there is so much to be learned from working with people who are experienced in your field. For English and Creative Writing majors, getting someone to look over your work and provide constructive criticism is an extremely beneficial experience. Not only do you learn how to become a better writer, but you learn to become a deeper thinker and become much more knowledgeable about your craft through the process of working with others. Not to mention, when applying for jobs, they’re going to be looking at the experience you’ve had just as much as the credits you’ve completed.

That’s why, even though you may want to run away and hide at the idea of finding and completing an internship, it’s an experience you’ll be so thankful you had. So, good luck and keep writing!


Read more about our internships at Turk’s Head Review and Chester Writers’ House, and get in touch with Dr. Utell if you want to apply.  Plus:  we’ve had a few job opportunities come our way over the last few days.  Check them out:

Assistant Editor at Springer Science and Business Media

Online Content Editor at Healio.com

Welcome Back!

Posted August 31, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: Careers, English Club Cool Stuff, Internships, News, Upcoming Events

Tags: , ,

We’d like to wish all our English and Creative Writing majors and minors a happy new semester!  Good luck this fall — and make sure you keep in touch with all the cool stuff that’s going on by following the blog and joining the English Club on Campus Cruiser.

There are already a few great opportunities to be aware of: take note!

  • We’ll be holding our first-ever opening meeting for English and Creative Writing majors on Sept. 9 at noon in KLC 118.  There will be pizza — come learn about internships, theater, the literary magazines, as well as need-to-know info about the program.
  • Check out the new season of Lone Brick Theater!
  • Don’t miss Professor Annalisa Castaldo’s Fall Faculty Lecture Marlowe’s Spectacular Deaths — Sept. 23 at 4pm in UC Room G.

And finally:  JOBS and INTERNSHIPS!

Professor Jayne Thompson is looking for interns to work in the Chester Writers’ House:  get in touch for details.

Here are two ideal job opportunities for English/Creative Writing majors:  Drinker/Biddle is looking for a writer/editor, and AVI Digital is looking for a copywriter.

Dickens Reading Group: Starting this Summer!

Posted May 15, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: English Club Cool Stuff, News, Recommended (Internet) Reading, Upcoming Events

Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy end of semester, and congratulations to all our graduates!

We’re pleased to announce that the end of the semester brings the launch of a new event, one that promises to be a lot of fun:  The Dickens Reading Group!

The Dickens Reading Group proposes to do something very unique:  read David Copperfield in the manner its original readers would have experienced it…in serial form, waiting breathlessly for each new installment.  (The experience recalls trying to get through a show on TV in the days of cliffhangers, before binge watching!)

To find out more, I interviewed one of the student leaders of this project, Kimberlee Roberts.  In addition to being one of the group’s leaders, Kim is also the Project Manager for a major new edition of the work of Wordsworth and Coleridge, in preparation by Dr. Daniel Robinson with the assistance of students in ENGL 401: Textual Scholarship.

Here’s Kim…

Tell us about the Dickens Reading Group. How did the idea come about? 

The Dickens Reading Group is a bit of a social experiment combining literature and anticipation [the anticipation of waiting for the next installment or “episode”–Ed.]. The excitement lies in the response of a modern audience reading Victorian literature in a very old-school way. You can’t binge read Copperfield in this group, and I have a gut feeling the absence of control over deciding how far ahead we as readers can peek will change the way we read. Taylor Brown [the other student leader], Dr. Robinson, and myself are always looking for ways to excite people about literature (the really good stuff that gets you thinking and sort of stays with you forever), and DR wasn’t sure if he would get the chance to teach Dickens before Taylor and I graduated, so we decided the best way to learn was to learn for fun! Taylor picked Copperfield for our group. It’s a great beginning novel for Dickens (his favorite child apparently) and it’s easily digestible and entertaining.

“We are disturbed in our cookery,” illustration by Phiz for Chapter 28 of David Copperfield (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Why did you choose this particular novel?

To get our readership hooked we had to start with a bang and Copperfield is it. I’ve heard that in 1849-50 people were losing their minds for this installment series and we kind of wanted to lose ours in the same way too.

What’s special about this reading group? How are you looking to replicate the experience Dickens’ first readers would have had, and why did you decide to do it this way?

The magic is in the response of the audience. There isn’t a book or a television series that you can’t binge on and society has been spoiled in that respect when it comes to consuming art. But with monthly installments, the readers cannot look forward, they do not know how much further they have to go, they cannot peek at the chapter titles; they are forced to consume only what is provided and to devour every aspect of it. The most interesting concept is that the modern reader has so much foresight–they are always looking forward to what is to come–but with this group, they can only see the present and the past installments and that’s gotta make them more interested in the smaller details and really develop a relationship with the characters.

What have you been doing to prepare?

A group of students, Taylor, Josh Meo, and myself (with the assistance of DR of course) went to the Free Library of Philadelphia to view the 1849-50 published installments (THE ORIGINALS!!!) and from those texts, we are creating a reading text that replicates them exactly, including all errors and typos. Later we will be creating a textual apparatus to compare the differences from the 1850 complete book publication and the 1849-50 installment publications.

In addition to helping to facilitate the Dickens Reading Group, you are also the Project Manager for the edition Dr. Robinson is working on, of the work of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as part of your summer research and experience in Textual Scholarship. How do you see these endeavors informing each other or being connected?

Sketch of Dickens during a visit to America (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Sketch of Dickens during a visit to America (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Simple, without being given the chance to examine Wordsworth’s manuscripts and learn the ins-and-outs of textual scholarship, the idea to create our own textual installment of Dickens may never have been thought of. Both projects involve an observation on my behalf of the progression of the author’s revision and growth. Like a tiny window into their personalities almost, and I get to recreate it just as they originally did.

Are there other books you might like to try this with?

I think it would be super fun to split up a modern novel and present it in a very out of date way. I really feel like, at both ends, reading a novel front to back all at once, or only reading what is given in serial form, have their pluses and minuses, but since I too am a modern reader I’m most interested in the delaying of information and chapters. Perhaps a great novel to try would be Harper Lee’s newest novel coming out soon. That way the anticipation is synonymous to the anticipation of the Victorian readers.

What else are you planning to read this summer?

I’m nearly positive I’m going to re-read The Prelude (it’s good for the soul), and I’m hooked on Thomas Hardy’s Jude The Obscure right now. Either way, there will be tears.

Widener Ink Drop Party and Student Project Day!

Posted April 22, 2015 by Janine Utell
Categories: English Club Cool Stuff, Professoring, Upcoming Events

Tags: , , , , , , ,

End-of-year celebrations of achievements in English and Creative Writing!

  • STUDENT PROJECT DAY!  Friday, April 24, join the students of Textual Scholarship and their mentor Professor Daniel Robinson as they share their year-long work in editing the poetry of William Wordsworth.  The presentation is titled “Editing the Texts of Wordsworth’s Life (Writing):  Textual Scholarship and Literary Experiential Learning,” and will be held in University Center Room C at 11:15.  Speakers:  Taylor Brown, Ashley DeRienzo, Evan Kramer, and Kimberlee Roberts.
  • WIDENER INK DROP PARTY!  Today!  April 22 in University Center Room A, 4pm.  Come celebrate the latest issue of our literary magazine, honor the work of the editors, staff, and writers, and participate in the open mic.



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