The last few weeks of the spring semester are always an exciting time for Creative Writing at Widener.
On April 20, seniors Evan Kramer, Kelsey Styles, Aly Amato, and David Kelly read their original works as part of their Creative Writing Senior Seminar Presentations. Then, April 26 saw the drop party for this year’s publication of Widener Ink, led by Editor in Chief Haley Poluchuk.
At the Senior Seminar reading, Dr. Michael Cocchiarale gave the opening remarks and explained to the audience how his students made it to this point in their creative writing careers. He said, “The Seminar is the most challenging course, requiring the completion of two major writing projects. Students handed in a 10-page, source-based aesthetic, and an introduction to their creative work that grapples with such questions as: Why do you write? What are your preoccupations as a writer? What do you hope your writing does for others? What are the special challenges for writers in twenty-first century America?”
“I’m a writer who enjoys a lot of detail,” she says, “whether it’s background information or little pieces to set the scene.” Over her time at Widener, she’s used this eye for detail to stare down some difficult subjects—body image, unplanned pregnancy, unexpected death—in her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. By her own admission, she is quiet and reserved, but she possesses a strong voice on the page that needs to be heard.
…is interested in God and evolution and other big ideas. Whatever his topic, he writes with great conviction, showcasing what he calls his “logic-oriented edutainment” aesthetic. A recent Student Voices reading of his play about dinosaurs in the workplace reveals that this aesthetic approach can yield laugh-out-loud results.
…is fearlessly inquisitive about the world. She’s not afraid to tackle issues of economic inequality. She’s not afraid to untether herself from realism and drift into the fantastical realm of slipstream, a genre that, as she explains, “has grown weary of . . . worn out rules, and has learned how to circumvent them for a better reading experience.” A winner of the Lowe Prize for poetry this year, Kelsey is an equally strong fiction writer. Whether a story is realist or not, she presents interesting, complex characters in conflict with their worlds.
By his own admission, Evan has “an obsession for observing and understanding human interaction.” With an incredible, almost obsessive eye for detail, especially the disturbing or darkly comic detail), Evan wants readers to “feel my writing crawling under their skin.” Evan’s fiction—not unlike the actual world we live in—is not the faint of heart. In short, Evan is like Poe and Flannery O’Connor . . . and then some.
Dr. Cocchiarale concluded by saying what a joy it was to get to know each of his students. He said that he enjoyed watching them emerge as careful thinkers, committed writers, and wonderful human beings, and took great pleasure in sharing with them the love of the written word.
The publication of our print literary magazine Widener Ink is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, ably led by Haley Poluchuk. This year’s drop party also featured an open mic, where the authors published in this year’s issue read their original work. (Photos courtesy of Jenn Rohrbach.)