It has been our pleasure to keep the Widener English blog for quite a few years to share and to celebrate the work of our students and faculty. We’ll be taking some time in the spring to reboot and redesign a brand-new site for Widener English and Creative Writing—an exciting online space that will reflect our mission, vision, and plans for the future.
Before we go, take a look at some of the incredible things that happened for us this past fall!
- The semester began with a kick-off welcome for English and Creative Writing majors and minors, featuring a visit from Career Services helping us answer the perennial question, “What can you do with an English and Creative Writing major?” (the answer being, of course, lots).
- We were delighted to welcome back English and Creative Writing alums for two amazing events. First, Professor Nicole Cirone, an instructor of English and Creative Writing, facilitated a writing workshop for students and alumni. Then, our Homecoming Weekend Open Mic drew a great crowd and featured students and alumni reading original work.
- Lone Brick Theatre put on a shattering performance of Tracy Letts’s Bug, turning the mainstage of Alumni Auditorium into an intimate black box for one of the final performances to be held in that space before a much-needed renovation.
- As part of our First-Year Common Experience, Nancy Ayllón-Ramírez, an attorney for Justice at Work in Philadelphia, gave a lecture on how students can think about using their voices for social justice and advocacy, especially on labor issues and workers’ rights. Professor Ruth Cary played an integral role in bringing Ayllón-Ramírez to campus as part of her teaching of writing, sustainability, and food justice.
- FACULTY PUBLICATIONS! Professors Michael Cocchiarale and Kenneth Pobo each saw new work out in the world this fall. Michael Cocchiarale had a new collection of short stories published, Here is Ware, and Kenneth Pobo had a new chapbook of micropoems published, Threads. Professor Pobo also kicked off the semester with new work in Toasted Cheese.
- Our Distinguished Visiting Writer for the fall was Philadelphia poet Cynthia Dewi Oka, who led tutorials and gave a breathtaking reading of new, unpublished work based on her investigations into archival material related to political violence in Indonesia. Check out this inspiring look at the powerful impact Oka had on our campus by senior Carlie Sisco, along with an in-depth interview, published on the blog for The Blue Route. (We are still talking about this visit!)
- Once again our students rocked the annual meeting for the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors, this year at Susquehanna University. Kelly Bachich, Carlie Sisco, Rohan Suriyage, and Sarah De Kok were all in attendance for a roundtable on our two literary magazines, Widener Ink and The Blue Route, as well as a poetry reading and workshop led by Martín Espada.
- SENIOR SEMINAR! Professor Mark Graybill ushered in senior seminar season earlier this fall with the Fall Faculty Lecture, entitled “Nostalgia, Race, and Authoritarianism in O’Connor’s Fiction and Trump’s America.” Looking at several less-frequently studied Flannery O’Connor stories, particularly “The Displaced Person,” Professor Graybill argued for the profound relevance of the author’s work for our time. And we end our action-packed fall semester, as always, with stellar senior seminar presentations, led by Professor Graybill: ten seniors sharing original scholarship on the work of Flannery O’Connor, on topics ranging from Southern literature and the grotesque, to intertextuality and Biblical allusions in O’Connor’s work, to considerations of O’Connor’s form and characters.
We wish everyone a happy end of the semester and a restful break—and we look forward to seeing you in the spring!