Widener English

The English Department at Widener University


Upcoming Events

Shakespeare at the Free Library!

Annalisa Castaldo, our specialist in medieval and Renaissance literature, is also the Scholar-in-Residence for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.  This year she is giving a series of

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. Photo by Kendall Whitehouse.

lectures called “Shakespeare in the World,” on Shakespeare’s “Taboo Topics”: politics, sex, race, and religion.  All lectures are held from 6–7pm at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Vine Street (the Parkway Central Library).  Check them out!  (Link here.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 – Shakespeare & Politics
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 – Shakespeare & Sex
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – Shakespeare & Race
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Shakespeare & Religion

Welcome Back!

We here at Widener English and Creative Writing are very excited to get back in the classroom—to meet new majors and minors and greet returning ones.  There are already a number of exciting activities on the horizon, and we encourage you to stay in touch and get involved.

Below you can find a run-down of everything on our events calendar.  In the meantime, seek out opportunities at our literary magazines The Blue Route and Widener Ink, our digital-first student-run media site The Blue & Gold, our theatre company Lone Brick Theatre, and our undergraduate research opportunities in digital humanities and textual scholarship.  We are here to help, with everything from courses to careers, and we look forward to seeing you on the third floor of Kapelski!

Save the dates:

  • English and Creative Writing majors and minors opening meeting:  September 6, noon, KLC 339 (pizza will be served!)
  • State Street Reading Series:  September 21, 7pm, Media Art Gallery (more info here!)
  • Fall Faculty Lecture:  Dr. Daniel Robinson on the Shelleys:  September 28, 3:30pm, UC Room F
  • Ken Pobo Poetry Reading:  October 5, 4pm, Widener Art Gallery (to be confirmed)
  • Open Mic:  October 19, 7pm, LC 1
  • Reading:  Distinguished Visiting Writer Stephanie Powell Watts:  November 15 at 4pm (learn more about her work here!)

Save the Dates: English and Creative Writing Events

The next few weeks are BUSY here at Widener English and Creative Writing.  Save the dates!

  • The Reading for Unity is being held tomorrow, Saturday, April 1, at 2pm in the Webb Room in University Center.  Widener students along with undergraduate writers from other colleges in the Philly region read works inspired by the call for social justice.
  • The Distinguished Visiting Writer, poet Christine Butterworth-McDermott, will be reading Wednesday, April 5, at 4pm in LC 1.
  • Dr. Daniel Robinson will be giving this spring’s President’s Lecture on his scholarship in the editing of Romantic-period texts.  This takes place on Monday, April 17 at noon in Lathem Hall.
  • The Creative Writing Senior Seminar reading will take place on Thursday, April 20 at 4pm in the Drost Room of the Library.  Kelsey Styles, Evan Kramer, David Kelly, and Aly Amato will be reading their original work.
  • Our annual Humanities Award ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 27—we will be recognizing the winner of the Roelofs Award at this event, as well as our first recipient of the Hastie Award.
  • The final reading for the 2016–2017 season of the State Street Series will take place on May 18 at 7pm in the Media Arts Gallery.  Come here the work of Sham-e Ali Nayeem and Curtis Smith.

    Carla Spataro performing at the March State Street Reading
Rahul Mehta performing at the March State Street Reading

Undergraduate Night at the State Street Reading Series

The second half of the 2016–2017 State Street Reading Series season opened with our first Undergraduate Night.  Writers from Cabrini, Swarthmore, Villanova, and Widener shared their fiction and poetry to a packed house.

Michael Cocchiarale introduces Undergraduate Night

Widener was represented by two seniors:  Kelsey Styles (Creative Writing/Communication Studies) and Evan Kramer (Creative Writing/English).  Each read original works of fiction.


  • The next State Street Reading will take place on March 16 at 7pm, featuring Carla Spataro and Rahul Mehta.
  • Undergraduate writers from around the region will convene at Widener on April 1 at 2pm for a Reading for Unity.  Students will read inspiring works on the theme of social justice.  Open to all in the Webb Room of the University Center.


New Publication from Faculty Member and Local Author Melissa Mowday

We are pleased to announce a new book from Widener English faculty member and local 9781467123822author, Melissa Mowday.  West Chester, in Arcadia Publishing‘s Images of Modern America series, is a photographic tour of this historic town; Mowday co-authored the book with her father, Bruce Mowday.

Melissa will be signing books at the Devon Barnes & Noble on December 18th at noon—stop by and congratulate her!

Welcome Back and Happy Fall Semester!

Welcome back from Widener English and Creative Writing!

Our faculty and students had a busy summer traveling, writing, presenting, and publishing.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Daniel Robinson, along with senior English majors Ashley DiRienzo and Taylor Brown, presented at the Wordsworth Summer Conference in August
  • Janine Utell presented at a conference on Letters and Letter Writing at Oxford University
  • Michael Cocchiarale presented at a symposium in Chicago on sports and civic identity sponsored by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature
  • Mark Graybill presented at the annual conference for the American Literature Association in San Francisco
  • Ken Pobo won the LGBTQ Flash Fiction Contest at Sweater Weather Magazine (read here!), and had work published at Quail Bell Magazine (read here!) and GFT Press (read here!), among others
  • Kelly Helm published a piece with the Naval Historical Foundation on Godzilla and the Bikini Atoll (read here!)

Now that the fall semester is up and running, make sure you add these dates to your calendar:

  • 9/14 at noon: Welcome Back Pizza Party for English/Creative Writing majors and minors in LC 339
  • 9/15 at 7pm: State Street Reading Series at the Media Arts Center Gallery
  • 9/21 at 4pm: Lecture by Martin Holt, visiting professor from Greifswald, Germany, in Freedom Hall Theater
  • 9/22 at 7pm: Open Mic (in honor of Susan Hastie) in LC 1
  • 9/26 at 3:30pm: Fall Faculty Lecture by Dr. Utell in UC Room G

Hope to see you out at these events!  Stop by and say hi, or get in touch with news!

Hot Pepper Shakespeare!

Come to the Drost Room on May 6 for Hot Pepper Shakespeare!

Not sure what it’s all about?  Check out these classically trained British Shakespearean actors try to recite some of the most amazing lines in all the English language…after eating entire handfuls of hot peppers.



Noon Event with Poet and Performance Artist Andrea Zittlau on March 2

On March 2 at noon in the Widener Art Gallery, poet and performance artist Dr. Andrea Zittlau will offer an event showcasing her poetry performance art.  The event is free and all are welcome.

Andrea Zittlau is a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in North American Studies at the University of Rostock. Her doctoral research focused on ethnographic museums and theories of display treating exhibitions as haunting performances. Furthermore, she has worked with and about performance artists such as the group La Pocha Nostra, Erica Mott, and Natalie Brewster Ngyuen. Andrea’s current work deals with nineteenth-century trial reports, psychiatry and theories of disorder and absence. Her publications include the edited volume (with Anna Kerchy) Exploring the Cultural History of Continental European Freakshows and Enfreakment (2012) and the monograph Curious Exotica (Ink on Paper) (2015).


FLASH MIC: This Friday!

Come out this Friday at noon!
Come out this Friday at noon!

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