Last week saw the inaugural reading in the State Street Reading Series, a new event in Media sponsored by the Media Arts Council and Widener University. The featured readers were our own Professor Ken Pobo, joined by Dilruba Ahmed. The reading was held in the Media Arts Center Gallery, an intimate space displaying the work of local artists and a venue for a number of exciting events.
Professor Pobo read poems from over the course of his career, displaying his range and wit with lively performance. We were particularly glad to hear work from his new collection, When the Light Turns Green, the publication of which is an especially exciting event because it is the first book produced by colleague Professor Jim Esch through his new independent small publishing company Spruce Alley Press. When the Light Turns Green, a 32-poem chapbook, is a mix of poetry and art, with Stacy Esch contributing 12 full-color digital art pieces. This is the 19th chapbook in Professor Pobo’s distinguished career; he has also published five collections of poetry. Stacy Esch has published writing and artwork in wordriver, Oddball Magazine, and Ibbetson Street. She is an English instructor at West Chester University.
The book’s title stems from the last poem in the collection, “Funeral Homes.” Professor Pobo explains: “For me, the light is a changing force. What I saw as light at twelve seems quite different now at sixty. Green means go. It is also a central color in nature, restorative, an essence of spring. A steadying color, one to rest in.”
Professor Esch, who also edits the literary zine Turk’s Head Review, had been planning to launch the press for years. “With all the changes going on in the publishing world, there are doors opening for small, independent publishers to offer high quality books that can be distributed worldwide with minimal startup costs. I want Spruce Alley to be a channel for independent literary voices, as well as a local and regional cultural presence in our community. Plus, I get a chance to indulge my passion for book design.”
The book is available print-on-demand at Lulu.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and can be special ordered from independent booksellers everywhere. E-book versions are also available at Apple’s iTunes, and a Kindle version at Amazon.com.
We’re looking forward to the next event in the State Street Reading Series, to be held on November 20, and featuring Professor Esch.