The English and World Languages Department is happy to announce the successful defense of a thesis by graduate student Kristy Davis. She defended her thesis “Edutainment in Podcasting: A content analysis of education and entertainment in the Serial Killers podcast” on March 16th for her MA in English. Her thesis committee members include Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel (chair), Dr. Justin Mando, and Dr. Kerri Farkas.
Category Archives: Community Engagement
Fiction Reading Event with Millersville Alumni Tyler Barton
Written by Heather Verani
This Wednesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Millersville alumni Tyler Barton, a writer who is hosting a fiction reading event of his debut short-story collection Eternal Night at the Nature Museum. This literary event takes place on March 28th at 7pm in McNairy Library at the alumni reading room (room 100).
Eternal Night at the Nature Museum received its interesting title based off of one of Barton’s previous works which is featured in this short-story collection. “It’s a short little one-page story” he describes, “that could also be considered as a prose poem because it’s very lyrical and shifting in a lot of different directions in a single page.” This almost-poetic short story is about a person being in a nature museum when a nuclear disaster strikes, and explores what it would be like to survive if that became your home for such an event. Although the collection of short stories don’t have a connecting thread, such as all the characters living in the same place or time, they do all share a common theme of home. Barton further explains this by stating all the stories deal with home by “either losing it, deciding to leave it, or finding it in a place you didn’t expect.” These stories differ in content, as they follow the lives of a variety of characters in disparate circumstances, such as having their house explode, or being evicted and accidentally joining a cult, but comes together as each character seeks to define what home is to them.
Barton started his writing career when he was a freshman in response to his feelings of disconnection and uncertainty of his community at Millersville. His practice of writing allowed him to connect with other students, like his now best friend Elliot White, whom he would trade stories with to get feedback. With his involvement in with creating creative writing clubs on campus, along with being a part of the creative writer’s guild, Barton left Millersville with an excitement for writing. After he graduated, Barton explains how he got the “bug” for writing and started publishing stories online. This led to him getting his MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato where he wrote all the stories that became the Eternal Night at the Nature Museum. The book was then published in 2021.
At the fiction reading event for Barton’s collection of short stories, students can expect the author to read some pieces from the book. He explains that although some don’t enjoy live literary readings, even some writer’s themselves, he finds they provide a space for readers to “engage with and understand the work better when hearing from the author’s voice.” At the event, Barton will also take questions and talk to students about their own interest in writing.
We are so happy to welcome Tyler back, and hope to see you at the event!
Attending A Book-Talk Event
On Wednesday, October 12th two professors within the English department here at Millersville hosted a book-talk event centered around the graphic novel Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein. These book-talk events are a series that occur each semester and are based upon the concepts of bibliotherapy, which is an expressive arts modality. Although it is not therapy, it is also not a typical book club, as it draws from the book and incorporates messages and themes in discussions centered around personal, professional, and developmental growth.
Although I’m a graduate student at Millersville, this was my first time going to a book-talk event, and I deeply regret not going to more in my undergrad years. At this particular book-talk, the author of the graphic novel was in attendance, and was so inviting of any and all questions we had about his novel. Katzenstein’s book Everything is an Emergency is centered around his journey with OCD, as he recounts different events and moments in his life that have both positively and negatively impacted his mental health. Both the book’s content and the presence of the author allowed for some interesting questions and discussions, such as “what was it like to write about your mental health” and “how much control did you have over the editing a publishing process.” The most unique and unexpected aspect of the book-talk was the sense of community and understanding that was built within the two-hour zoom call. Everyone who was in attendance, including professors, graduate students, and undergrad students all seemed to connect through the discussions which made for a lively event.
There is one more opportunity to participate in the book-talk event for Everything is an Emergency on November 2nd, from 5-7pm on zoom. For more information, follow the link below to register for the event: https://www.millersville.edu/learninginstitute/book-talk-series.php.
Calling All Poets!
Does a beautiful day move you to write about the nature that surrounds you? Do you find that writing about your emotions helps to relieve them? Have you ever felt the urge rhyme within a verse or a line? If you said yes to any of these scenarios, you may just be a poet!
The American Academy of Poets is hosting their annual student poetry contest, and both undergraduate and graduate students at Millersville are encouraged to apply. This is a great opportunity to showcase your poetic talents, along with the opportunity to strengthen your work and potentially become published. To enter, you must submit up to three of your own poems to Dr. Farkas. The way to submit your entry is by emailing her at email@example.com with the subject line Poetry Contest. Remember to include your name, MU number, and email address with the email; however, do not include your name or identifying information in the poems. The deadline for the event is Friday, March 3rd, 2023. The prizes for winning the contest include $100, a year membership in the academy of poets, your poem published on www.poets.org, and listed in the Academy’s annual report. If you have any questions, contact Kerrie Farkas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-871-7399. Best of luck to all those entering!
Must-Reads for Undergraduates
Preparations for family weekend are in full swing here at Millersville, as it is an exciting time for parents and students to reunite on campus. While spending time with parents on campus, it is easy to reflect on what their college days might have been like. What songs were popular at the time, how often did they oversleep for their 8am, and what did they do for fun are all questions that may come to mind. Although much has changed between their college years and now, there are a few things that never go out of trend. One classic that will always remain is the need for a good book recommendation. This month, I asked two professors in the English department which books they would recommend undergraduate students should read in their college years. Their responses reflect different ways to be successful in college in ways that students might not expect.
Dr. Pfannenstiel recommends Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein. “This is a graphic novel that works through coming to terms with mental health” she explains. This novel “supports readers coming to terms with mental health, and shedding light on a variety of OCD tendencies.” College is a fantastic time to find yourself; however, you may discover parts of yourself that can be overwhelming to cope with. Katzenstein’s novel reminds us of the message that you are not alone, and it is always more than okay to ask for help. This novel is featured in this semester’s “Book Talk” series presented by Dr. Pfannenstiel, Dr. Baldys, and Michele Santamaria. The discussion of the novel will take place on Wednesday, September 21st, October 12th, and November 2nd. If you are interested in this novel and would like to participate in the Book Talk series, follow this link for more information. https://millersvilleuniversity.sharepoint.com/sites/villedaily/SitePages/Book-Talk-Series-featuring-Everything-is-an-Emergency-by-Jason-Katzenstein-09-08-2022.aspx?CT=1663176045975&OR=OWA-NT&CID=fc5b33f0-775b-731d-102b-6ae92dea08a1
Dr. Mando recommends that undergrads read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. He provides a brief summary of the nonfiction novel, stating that the “subject matter is immense.” “On one page she dives deeply into the soil to explore the fecundity of macroinvertebrates” Dr. Mando explains, “on the next she’s in the stars floating through realms of philosophy and spirituality searching for the present moment.” This vivid depiction of this nonfiction narrative showcases how it covers many different areas, but you may be wondering why this was recommended for under grad students. “Dillard is a close observer, a researcher, a teacher, and an explorer; these are all important traits of students.” Pilgrim at Tinker Creek encourages students to explore the traits Dillard presents throughout her novel, and inspires us to take a closer look into the smaller details of life.
English Graduate Students Attend Fulton Theater to see Sweat by Lynn Nottage
By: Hayley Billet
Dr. Corkery and graduate students from his Spring 2021 Drama class attended a showing of Lynn Nottage’s play Sweat at the Fulton Theater on April 8th. Most of the characters in Sweat are working class people from Reading, Pennsylvania. The plot focuses on the troubles they face when they are laid off from the job they have all worked at for many years.
By attending the showing of the play that they have read for their class, the students were able to enrich their understanding of the play itself, further enhance their learning from the classroom setting, and experience the play rooted in community.
This shows the value of experiential learning, a high-impact practice that all students, graduate or undergraduate, should take part in (https://www.aacu.org/trending-topics/high-impact). The graduate students were able to make real-world connections by viewing a play read in class, on a much larger scale (the Fulton). The graduate students engaged as audience members, at a theater filled with spectators who have personal and impersonal connections to Reading, PA. This community-based experiential learning helped us showcase and apply our interpretations, connections to the community, and our extension of class learning in a very real, community focused way. Students, myself included, also gained experience by organizing this event in coordination with Dr. Corkery.
After reflecting on the experience, I noticed differences between experiential learning for graduate students and undergraduate students. I experienced the play as a graduate student and community member; I wasn’t just a student identifying the characters and themes of this work, I was sitting in a theater rooted in community values, experiencing the plot and characters alongside Lancaster County community members sharing an interest in telling the stories of our experiences in Pennsylvania communities. I have discovered immense value in experiential learning and invite others to work with our graduate faculty planning future community-based experiential learning events.
World Poetry Day
On March 21st, the English & World Languages department hosted a virtual celebration for World Poetry Day. Guest poets Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare read their poetry and discussed creative writing and the publication process.
If you would like to view the virtual event, the video recording is included below.
World Poetry Day Reading – Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare
World Poetry Day Reading by Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare. Moderated by Dr. Kaitlin Mondello. Hosted by the Department of English & World Languages at Millersville University.
Featured below is a bilingual poetry reading provided by Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez of the World Languages department.
World Poetry Day Bilingual Reading – Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez
World Languages faculty read poetry in the language they specialize in and a translated English version to provide a cross-cultural poetry experience for World Poetry Day (March 21, 2022). A special thank you to Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez for their assistance in this project.
Alumni and Current Students Swap Stories and Insights at Lit Fest
This last semester’s Literary Festival, Writing in Community, was very special. There were so many moments of genuine community, that made us all remember why we love Millersville English.
Millersville University Literary Festival
On Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8, Millersville University will host its annual Literary Festival. This year’s theme is “Writing in Community.”
The event will start on Thursday in McComsey’s Ford Atrium at 4 pm. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to attend and read at an open reading following featured faculty member Sarah D’Stair.
At 7:30pm, Meghan Kenny will give her keynote address in Myers Auditorium. Meghan Kenny is the author of the short story collection Love Is No Small Thing (LSU Press, 2017) and the novel The Driest Season (W.W. Norton, 2018), which was an honorable mention for the 2019 PEN/HEMINGWAY Award. She lives in Lancaster.
On Friday the 8th, the Literary Festival will continue in the McNairy Library from 9am to 4pm. Individual sessions will take place in Room 100 where you can learn how to:
- Write fiction and short stories
- Write thrillers and suspense novels
- Write free verse and traditional poetry
- Find work in writing-related fields
- Find what publishers want and get your work published
- Write creative non-fiction and memoirs
- Approach literature for translation
If you have any questions, contact Dr. Archibald or Dr. Jakubiak. Visit the Literary Festival website for the full event schedule and more information.
2019 Harrisburg Book Festival Schedule
Check out the 2019 Harrisburg Book Festival at Midtown Scholar Bookstore! Listed are some of the major events at the festival. Are you interested in getting a ride from campus to the festival? Contact Rachel Hicks or Dr. Corkery.
Now in its seventh year, the Harrisburg Book Festival is proudly hosted by the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. Featuring an annual tent sale, award-winning authors, children’s illustrators, emerging novelists, acclaimed historians — surrounded by hundreds of thousands of books at one of the nation’s most celebrated independent bookstores — the Harrisburg Book Festival aims to amplify and celebrate diverse literature for all ages. All events are free and open to the public.
For the Love of Beer: Inside Pennsylvania Breweries
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3RD | 7PM
Pennsylvanians have enjoyed a long, rich love affair with beer. The state not only ranks first in the nation for the number of barrels produced but the breweries, beer, and their craftsmen all have interesting stories to tell. Author Alison Feeney examines Pennsylvania’s brewing history, geography, and cultural richness while highlighting over 100 of the states thriving craft breweries in her new book, For the Love of Beer: Pennsylvania Breweries. Moderated by Sara Bozich, join Feeney, Hannah Ison of Zero Day Brewery, and Jeff Musselman of the Millworks for a lively conversation on, you guessed it, beer.
Following the discussion, we’ll have a book signing and samples of beer from The Millworks and Zero Day Brewing Company.
Smart Talk Live with Eric Foner
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4TH | 9AM
From Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Eric Foner, a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation — and how those guarantees have been shaken over time. In The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, Foner informs our understanding of the present as well as the past. Knowledge and vigilance are always necessary to secure our basic rights.
Eric Foner will be interviewed on-stage by WITF’s Scott LaMar for Smart Talk Live.
An Evening with Isha Sesay
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4TH | 7PM
In the early morning of April 14, 2014, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram violently burst into the small town of Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted 276 girls from their school dorm rooms. From poor families, these girls were determined to make better lives for themselves, but pursuing an education made them targets, resulting in one of the most high-profile abductions in modern history. In Beneath the Tamarind Tree, Isha Sesay tells this story as no one else can. With a soaring message of hope at its core, Isha Sesay will deliver the Keynote Address for the 2019 Harrisburg Book Festival, reminding us of the ever-present truth that progress for all of us hinges on unleashing the potential of women.
Storytime with Vashti Harrison!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 10AM
Join New York Times bestselling author & illustrator Vashti Harrison as she introduces young readers to trailblazing women who changed the world. Harrison will read from her two bestsellers: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World. Afterwards, Harrison will conduct a drawing demo on the main stage for kids of all ages!
A book signing will follow the presentation. Copies of Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Hair Love, Festival of Colors, and Cece Loves Science will be available for purchase.
Storytime with Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 11AM
In their debut picture book, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox introduce young readers to the comical, the studious, the oblivious Llama, a picture-book hero for the ages. Grab some cake and your dancing pants and prepare for Llama Destroys the World… because THE TIME FOR LLAMA IS NIGH! Join Stutzman and Fox as they read from their new picture book, Llama Destroys the World.
Cookbook Demo with Nisha Vora
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 12PM
With food and photos as vivid, joyous, and wholesome as the title of her popular cooking blog Rainbow Plant Life suggests, Nisha Vora shares nourishing recipes with her loyal followers daily. Now, in her debut cookbook, she makes healthy, delicious everyday cooking a snap with more than 90 nutritious (and colorful!) recipes you can make easily with the magic of an Instant Pot pressure cooker. Join Nisha for a recipe demonstration from her new cookbook: The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes. Afterwards, there will be a free tasting of two recipes from the cookbook, followed by a book signing.
Political Parody in the Age of Trump
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 2PM
For readers craving a humorous antidote to the sound and the fury of American politics, these clever parodies offer an escapist reprieve for those pining for the previous administration. In Hope Rides Again, Andrew Shaffer provides the highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling Hope Never Dies. Obama and Biden reprise their roles as BFFs-turned-detectives as they chase Obama’s stolen cell phone through the streets of Chicago — and right into a vast conspiracy. And in MacTrump, bestselling authors Ian Doescher and Jacopo della Quercia fictionalize the events of the first two years of the Trump administration — in iambic pentameter. Will MacTrump be able to hold on to his throne? Only time will tell in this tragicomic tale of ambition, greed, and royal ineptitude — based on Sheakespeare’s Macbeth.
Emerging Voices, New Perspectives
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 4:30PM
From three new emerging voices in fiction — these page-turning debut novels show us the power and transcendence of storytelling. In She Would Be King, Wayetu Moore combines history and magical realism to reimagine the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters. In The Farm, Joanne Ramos gives us a gripping, provocative, and heartbreaking narrative on immigration, motherhood, money, and merit. And in the bestselling The Incendiaries, R.O. Kwon delivers a powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss — and what can befall those who lose what they love most.
An Evening with Stephen Chbosky
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5TH | 7PM
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us. Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. In Imaginary Friend, Chbosky takes us to Mill Grove, Pennsylvania — where seven year-old Christopher and his mother on the run. At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete. Read it with the lights on.
Fiction, Fantasy, and the Mythic Journey
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH | 2PM
Internationally bestselling novelist Téa Obreht mesmerized readers with her timeless debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife. Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, spun a novel that established her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation. Now, in her new novel, Inland, Obreht returns to subvert and reimagine the myths of the American West, making them entirely—and unforgettably—her own. Moderated by award-winning novelist Liz Moore, Obreht will discuss her award-winning novels and the spectacular triumphs of storytelling.
This event previously stated that Madeline Miller would make an appearance. Due to an unforeseen conflict, Madeline will not be able to make an appearance at this year’s festival. We look forward to hosting her in the spring 2020 for the paperback tour of Circe!
How To Be An Anti-Racist
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH | 5PM
From award-winning authors Ibram X. Kendi and Imani Perry comes a powerful conversation on racial justice in America, showing us how to understand and uproot racism in our society — and in ourselves. In Breathe, Perry explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a black person in contemporary America. And in How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. Moderated by award-winning author Keisha Blain, Kendi and Perry point us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.
Official schedule can be found on the Harrisburg Book Festival website.