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.
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
Check out these upcoming literary events in the Lancaster area!
Millersville Literary Festival – McNairy Library Reading Room
Thursday, November 7: 4pm Readings/Reception, 7:30pm Keynote
Friday, November 8: 9am Panel Presentations, 12pm Lunch, 3-5pm Readings
More Information Coming Soon
Wait Until Dark: Tuesday, October 8, 8pm (pay what you want)
- A mysterious doll mistakenly smuggled into the country possesses secrets that puts a young couple in serious danger, especially the blind homemaker. This cult classic will have you on the edge of your seat, minute after pulsating minute. Left home alone and to her own devices, Susan is forced to defend herself against con men, who are after the doll and its goods. A clever cat-and-mouse game of deception becomes more dangerous when the doll disappears! The game takes a drastic turn when the lights go out!
August Wilson’s Radio Golf: Sunday in Late October TBD
- Successful real estate developer Harmond Wilks is on a mission to become Pittsburgh’s first black mayor by doing whatever it takes to transform his childhood neighborhood from blighted to bustling. But when he learns the truth about his family’s legacy, he is forced to decide whether he will finish what he started or fight to preserve his community’s history. This fast-paced, crackling conclusion to August Wilson’s unparalleled 10-play The American Century Cycle examining the African-American experience in the 20th century is “surprising, suspenseful and crowd-pleasing” (The New York Times), and draws striking parallels to the issues we still face today.
Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel: Every Thursday 7-9pm
- The Cartel is a weekly reading series founded in 1999, has featured many talented writers, poets, and artists as well as an exciting and growing list of guest readers and headliners. All are welcome–bring your own poetry, poetry you love, or just an open ear.
An Evening with John Leland: Saturday, September 21, 6-8pm
This September, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome bestselling author John Leland to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old. This event is free and open to the public.
Harrisburg Book Festival: Thursday, October 3, 7pm – Sunday, October 6, 7pm
- 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.
Nathaniel Gadsen’s Spoken Word Cafe: Every Other Friday, 7-9pm
Join Nathaniel Gadsden’s Spoken Word Café for a time of poetry and storytelling. This event is free and open to the public.
LGBT Book Club: Every Third Sunday of the Month, 4:30-5:30pm
- Join the LGBT Book Club every third Sunday of the month for a discussion on this month’s book!
Eleanor Gordon-Smith: Wednesday, October 23, 7-9pm
This October, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome author Eleanor Gordon-Smith to Harrisburg as she presents her new book, Stop Being Reasonable: How We Really Change Our Minds. This event is free and open to the public.
An Evening with John Witherow: Thursday, October 24, 7-9pm
- The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome local author John Witherow to Harrisburg as he presents his new novel, The Gap: Fort Indiantown. This event is free and open to the public. The Gap is a coming-of-age story that poses questions about the wisdom of the current drug war while employing themes from another lost war.
An Evening with Stephen Fried: Wednesday, November 6, 7-9pm
The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome bestselling author Stephen Fried to Harrisburg as he discusses his new book, Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.
Henry Hemming: Saturday, November 9, 5-7pm
The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is pleased to welcome bestselling espionage author Henry Hemming to Harrisburg as he presents his new book, Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II. This event is free and open to the public. Book signing to follow discussion.
Faculty Writers: Eve Bratman: Tuesday, September 24, 4:30-5:30pm
- Eve Bratman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment. She is a political ecologist who has a PhD in international relations from American University. Her book, Governing the Rainforest, is based on ten years of research concerning development policies, infrastructure, conservation, and human rights in the Brazilian Amazon. This event is free and open to the public.
Hausman Lecture Craft Talk: Alice McDermott: Tuesday, October 1, 4:30-5:30pm
- Alice McDermott’s eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in September 2017. She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. Established through an endowment by Richard Hausman ’50, P’85 and Edna Hausman P’85, the Hausman Lecture has brought prominent writers to campus for lectures, readings and workshops since 1982.
Will to Read: Shakespeare Aloud: Thursday, October 3, 7-9pm (Monthly)
- Do you enjoy Shakespeare? If so, join this monthly reading/viewing/discussion group on Thursday evenings 7-9pm at the Writers House. We will simply read selected scenes, watch recorded stage and screen performances of those scenes, and talk about it all. No preparation, experience, or expertise required–only enthusiasm! The second play is Henry IV. This event is free and open to the public.
A Reading with Jamie Beth Cohen: Tuesday, October 15, 7:30-8:30pm
- Jamie Beth Cohen is a writer who works in higher education. She writes about difficult things, but her friends think she’s funny. Her non-fiction has appeared in TeenVogue.com, The Washington Post/On Parenting, Salon, and several other outlets. Her debut novel, Wasted Pretty, was published in April 2019.
Playwriting in a Plotless World: Thursday, November 21, 11:30-12:30pm
- Paula Vogel is Franklin & Marshall College’s tenth annual Lapine Family Visiting Theatre Artist. She has written How I Learned to Drive (Pulitzer Prize, New York Drama Critics Award, Obie Award, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and many more) and many more plays.
The Interpreters – On Screen/In Person: Thursday, September 26, 7pm
Local interpreters were key to recent US war efforts, but now many face danger in their countries because of their affiliation. This is the moving story of how they are rebuilding their lives, told through an Iraqi who was able to make it to the US with the help of an American soldier he befriended, an Afghan who is still working as an interpreter in Kabul despite threats to his life, and another who fled with his family as refugees to Turkey. Run Time: 75 minutes. The evening begins in Steinman Hall with a pre-showing activity or community panel at 6:15 PM, and a post-show Q+A with the film’s director.
- An onstage celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Rita Smith Wade-El featuring the best of Lancaster’s African-American performing arts community including such artists as the Imani-Edutainers, Maria and Kiana Corley, CoCo Coleman, Gerri MrGritty, Tyrell, and others, all performing brief tributes to Rita in the respective genres – dance, vocal and instrumental music, spoken-word, and more! Free and open to the public.
- Badger Creek is a portrait of Native-American resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the reservation in Montana.The Thick Dark Fog is the story of Walter Littlemoon who attended a federal Indian boarding school in South Dakota sixty years ago. The mission of many of these schools in 1950, was still to “kill the Indian and save the man.” The children were not allowed to speak their language or express their cultural identity in any way. Total Run Time: 84 minutes. The evening begins in Steinman Hall with a pre-showing activity or community panel at 6:15 PM, and a post-show Q+A with the film’s director.
- Gods mix with mortals, a feuding king and queen unleash magical practical jokes on one another, spells yield improbable love affairs and a band of comical wanderers enter into an enchanted woods and are transformed in the most unlikely ways in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s most popular and enduring comedy. Discounted MU Student tickets available at a ticket office location with a valid ID; limit 2 per ID. Early reservations are strongly encouraged because Rafters Theatre has limited seating.
- DETROIT 48202 examines the rise, demise, and contested resurgence of Detroit through the lens of an utterly charming African-American mail carrier, Wendell Watkins, and the community of committed residents he faithfully served for thirty years. We take a journey with Wendell along his route, winding through the center of what was, once upon a time, a vital and thriving city. Run Time: 80 minutes. The evening begins in Steinman Hall with a pre-showing activity or community panel at 6:15 PM, and a post-show Q+A with the film’s director.
The 24 Hour Plays: Saturday, October 5, 7pm
- Six writers, six directors, twenty-five actors, and one production team will write, rehearse, and perform six short plays in a 24 hour period. The process begins Friday evening, October 4, with writers choosing actors from a pool of talent. The six writers work through the night and hand their work to directors early Saturday morning, October 5, the day of the performance. After negotiating for their choice of play, directors, along with their play’s actors and a crew of stage technicians, prepare for the 7 pm performance. All tickets are free to reserve, and there is no obligation, or suggested minimum, to pay. Tickets can be reserved through Eventbrite.
Poetry Readings: Every Second Thursday, 7-8:30pm
- Each month The Turning Wheel welcomes a featured writer from around the region to share their work with our community. After the featured reading, there will be our usual, all-genre open mic. Bring your poems and short prose pieces to share!
The Nightingale: Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21
- Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
Manhattan Short Film Festival: September 27 – October 6
- Manhattan Short is not a touring festival; rather, it is an instantaneous celebration that occurs simultaneously across the globe, bringing great films to great venues and allowing the audiences to select their favorites. If the Film Festival experience truly is about getting great works in front of as many eyes as possible, Manhattan Short offers the ultimate platform — one that sees its films screened in Sydney, Mumbai, Moscow, Kathmandu, Vienna, Cape Town to cinemas in all fifty states of the United States and beyond.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Sunday,October 6, 7pm
- 50th Anniversary Event! Monty Python and the Holy Grail loosely follows the legend of King Arthur. Arthur along with his squire, Patsy, recruits his Knights of the Round Table, including Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot and Sir Galahad the Pure. On the way Arthur battles the Black Knight who, despite having had all his limbs chopped off, insists he can still fight. They reach Camelot, but Arthur decides not to enter, as “it is a silly place”.
ACLU-PA Presents, Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook: Monday, October 7, 7:30pm
- Narrated by Jeffrey Wright, and shot during the chaotic 2016 election, the film identifies and unpacks a shrewd ten-part strategy to suppress the vote, from creating new barriers to voter registration, to purging American citizens from the voting rolls without notice, to new and deliberate impediments to casting a vote. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Alex Domingos, Organizer, Campaign for Smart Justice. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so an RSVP is requested. Email your name and quantity of tickets needed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
GLAS Presents: Animation Next: Friday, October 11 – Sunday, October 13
- The best-of-the-best from the groundbreaking annual GLAS Animation Festival in Berkeley, CA. Showcasing seven bold new shorts from the newest generation to redefine what’s possible in the medium, ANIMATION NEXT takes you on a prismatic journey ranging from subterranean nightmares to sun-soaked coming of age stories — each exploring themes that most grip the modern world. For more info, visit glasanimation.com
Winterbeast: Thursday, October 24, 7:30pm
- Join us for the 3rd film in the So Bad! So Good! Series. Presented and Introduced by Bradley Lyndon. The finest, and possibly only movie ever made in Newbury, New Hampshire, it’s a head-scratching tour-de-force of incoherent plot twists, continuity errors, bizarre non-sequitors, cheap effects and clunky performances. It’s even got props borrowed from a Dokken music video! It’s a bizarre train wreck of a movie that somehow transcends its own ineptitude to become an endlessly entertaining anti-masterpiece.
ACLU-PA Presents: Reversing Roe: Monday, November 4, 7:30pm
- Forty-five years after it revolutionized abortion law in America, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade is once again at a crossroads. In their timely new documentary, filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg present a deeply illuminating look of the state of abortion and women’s rights in America. The film offers candid and riveting interviews with key figures from both sides of the divide. Intense and unflinching in its commitment to telling the whole story, the film provides a gripping look at what’s happening on the ground in 2018. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Marianne Stein, ACLU-PA Legislative Associate. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so an RSVP is requested. Email your name and quantity of tickets needed to: email@example.com
Arrival: Thursday, November 21, 6:30pm
- Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. Film introduced by Dennis Weiss and followed by conversation and cocktails.
The English Department encourages students to check out the English-related clubs! The English Club, Film Club, George Street Press, and The Snapper give students opportunities to build community and flex their writing and critical-thinking skills. Click on the headings for the clubs’ Get Involved pages.
The English Club provides a welcome environment where lovers of language and literature can come together to participate in literary activities, field trips, discussions, and more! Both majors and non-majors are welcome. Meetings will begin at 5:30pm on Thursdays starting September 12th. The location will be sent out via email at a later date. For more information, contact President Stephanie Wenger or Vice President Morgan Reichenbach.
The Film Club is a campus organization where film fans can gather for screenings of films followed by discussion, as well as connect with others with a passion for the art of film across Millersville. The club screens films, both older and more contemporary, and discusses the topics presented by correlating the film to larger societal issues. Film Club will begin screenings on September 16th at 7pm in Club de’Ville and will meet every other Monday afterwards. For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page, contact President Lisa Crum, or email adviser Jill Craven.
George Street Press is Millersville University’s literary magazine that is open to students and faculty alike. The publication is completely student run and student published, accepting all sorts of work from poetry, short fiction, essays, creative nonfiction, photography, painting and sculpture. If you are interested with assisting in publication, the club meets Monday nights in Club De’Ville (the commuter lounge in the lower level of the SMC) at 9pm. If you would like to submit any work for the Fall 2019 publication, submissions open on November 1st at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, contact President Kitsey Shehan or Vice President Sara Pizzo. Updates can be found on the club’s Instagram page.
The Snapper is Millersville University’s student-run newspaper, providing fair, accurate, and unbiased reporting on a weekly basis for the student body. They are the campus’ independent watchdog, a tireless advocate and champion of student rights. Through the sections and other positions, The Snapper provides students with an opportunity to experience the fields of print and digital media, along with many opportunities to improve their own writing skills. The Snapper’s office is located in the bottom level of the SMC, room 15. They hold weekly meetings every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Students can contact The Snapper at: email@example.com.
The purpose of MU’s AAUW, among other things, is to prepare students for leadership in the civic realm, offer students an opportunity to exchange ideas on social justice, network members with the global AAUW community of more than 170,000 members, and support women in gaining positions of leadership across campus. Meeting times will be announced. For more information, adviser Jill Craven. Want to get involved with AAUW? Consider taking on a leadership position for the 2019-2020 school year.
Creative Writers’ Guild is a place for MU students to mingle and share ideas, discuss their passions, and simply enjoy one another’s company. The members have essentially become a family, and there is always room for more family members to join. Every meeting, club members are given a prompt to guide their writing, but have the freedom to create anything they like. Members have done everything from fanfiction to poetry to improv storytelling, and are always looking to try new writing prompts. The club meets on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm in Chryst 210. To learn more, contact President Jacob Coopersmith.
Every year, Millersville University participates in the Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Nate Warren, a senior English BSE major, who won first place and to Alicia McCrady, a senior English BA student, who earned “Honorable Mention” in this year’s contest.
Nate wrote a post about his poems, how his poetry comes to be, and the context of the three poems he submitted to the contest.
For me, my favorite kind of poetry to write is something that contains multiple moments in a single one – just a frozen bit found in the multitudes we feel simultaneously in our busy lives. One of my major goals in this style of poetry that I keep in the back of my mind as I write, and can always work towards, is that I want a welcoming tone with a little bit of optimism, or some hope for change. It’s okay to not know or understand everything – it’s impossible to – but for each person, there are things we can’t shake from our minds, both collectively and individually, both for better and for worse. The following poems were made with that mindset.
Altitude Sickness at Sea Level
Planes are atemporal, even though
I know it will be late when I reach home.
I’m just waiting for someone to tear me down,
To tell me to do better, to stick to
those weekly agendas, that daily routine
that will make me feel again. That will
make my contributions materialize.
Oh, to be grabbed by the hand of god
and shown to my place in the amber lights,
On Earth. An address that could be mine. A life
with a living. Worth where the struggles are
not left for thermolysis.
When I am told to get better, I am told to heal. There is a difference between that and improving. They are, after all, different words. Healing is still the act of returning to a perfect state. I want to improve in a way that says, I am not omnipotent, and neither are you.
– I wrote this on the plane coming back from a student activist retreat in Chicago – it was a long weekend at the retreat, and the semester started the next morning. It was also my first time flying at night, and the city went on for miles. I didn’t plan to talk about disability too, but that’s how it went.
The lightning bug glow, near to the grass
and Susan yellow,
assured me that I had felt this before.
And each time, having won, this was also acceptable.
More fireflies joined their brethren in a sparkling display, like
streetlamps refracting in muddy puddles.
As I watched, they grew increasingly in sync, and zipped up to the sky.
Thunder rolled back down a second later.
The raindrops absorbed into my skin and froze,
settling myself within my body
I felt there.
On every person’s tongue and into everyone’s deepest thoughts,
And weaving into the day and time,
It rumbled on.
– It was a rainy, thunderous day, where everything felt surreal for no real reason. I believe small talk serves an important social function, of making sure the other person is okay, but that day it felt repeated word-for-word as we talked about the weather.
Comfortable with elephants
we converse in gusts
shriveled rustlers in the melody of bells.
And while we’re at it, bites take
reality or build icons
but I’m afraid to represent still moments:
photos, ruin, and words, destroy.
Underneath the bones you tripped on
are bones, and dirt, and bones.
They struck me as prophetic.
You came away with a rash and a newfound love.
Grassless hills of loam shade us
and trick us into seeing only science
so by the time we’re in the sun again
proprioception erodes away,
with only faint muscle memory
of having stumbled.
– This one was written without an idea in mind initially, but as I wrote I remembered a day spent clearing up debris near a river across from this one restaurant when I was younger. The memories are both distinct and amorphous, and some modern thoughts slipped in.
On Tuesday, April 23rd, the Education Justice rally, “Educate the State,” took place on Millersville campus in front of the library. Millersville students and faculty from several departments participated. Our friends in the Art Club, led by Abigail Saurbaugh, created signage for the event and encouraged people to write about their experiences with education and education funding.
Millersville alumnus Howard Jones (MA in Psychology) began the event “speaking from the heart” about the role of education. Those of us who know and love Howard were excited to see Howard back on campus, leading off this event, and advocating for change. Howard works as a legislative aide for Mike Sturla, who was delayed, so Howard covered some of the legislative issues, like helping students with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and supporting higher education, and then Howard spoke about moving theory into practice by making change through being an engaged intellectual.
English BSE and PA Student Power representative Nate Warren then gave a stirring representation of what the lack of state funding of higher education does to many undergraduates. He roused the crowd through appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos, providing memorable images of Millersville’s hard-working students. You can read his full speech in another post in our newsletter.
APSCUF President and Economics professor Ken Smith provided a cogent economic analysis of the value of investment in higher education. His statistics demonstrated a strong return on investment not only for the individuals going to college, but also to the state as a whole. As Smith described, the overall income of people in the state rises with the education levels in the state, noting “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The PA Promise helps not only students, but helps the whole state.
Black Student Union treasurer Reuneisha Williams followed up with a powerful talk about her experiences in the educational system.
Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel addressed the crowd on the potential of online educational resources (OER) for reducing student costs and debt. Dr. P is part of a working group. She explained how, through the group’s efforts to change professors from books to free online resources, they have already saved students $150,000. Dr. P invited students to learn more at the table where members of their group helped students to think about the possibilities they would have with the money they could save. Following Dr. P, Susan Spicka, the head of PA Education Voters, also voiced her support for needed changes in education.
English majors Kat La Bar and Kitty Dillon presented some spoken word poems. Dr. Miriam Witmer, who watched the performance, explained that her education class analyzes Kitty’s enthralling 4-part poem. We look forward to seeing both Kat and Kitty get their works published!
Speaker and poet Marci Nelligan was impressed by our English students’ work, as well as the Spoken Word from the group Original Thought. She presented on her grants to bring African American Artists into School District of Lancaster classrooms. She presented impressive statistics about the impact that art has on classroom performance and success.
English BSE alumna and SDoL teacher Sherri Castillo talked about her efforts to lead LGBTQ+ support in schools, and also discussed the issues she had being an “out” teacher in Pennsylvania, where sexual orientation isn’t a protected class for jobs. Her careful navigation of a difficult issue was instructional for all who heard–both gay and straight.
Students from Original Thought, a poetry organization under the BSU, presented impactful viewpoints in their spoken word poetry. They left the audience pondering privilege. It’s one thing to be concerned about debt, and quite another about survival.
Preacher Gerald Simmons touched the moral aspects of fairness in education. His stirring oratory touched on issues of fair funding across the 500 PA school districts. Currently, districts that are whiter get more monetary support per student than districts that have more students of color. PA is the most egregious in this category.
Skyler Gibbon, senior English major, read two poems by others as well as one of her own creations.
Brynn Raub, an English Education major, read out a thoughtful reminiscence about how she started as just a number in the school system, and then grew to finally understand what education really meant.
Rob Spicer ended the day’s speeches reminding us all of the power we have in free speech and assembly, and the need to protect that right.
Thanks to everyone who spoke on stage, provided information at tables, read original work, and witnessed the power of publicly calling for education justice.
George Street Press is Millersville University’s literary magazine, open to students and faculty alike. Submissions are open for the Spring 2019 Edition!
This year, the club will be accepting submissions until March 8th. One student/faculty/alumni university member may submit:
- 3 poems (one poem cannot exceed two pages)
- 2 pieces of prose (one piece should not exceed 4,000 words)
- 2 pieces of non-fiction (one piece should not exceed 4,000 words)
- 3 pieces of flash-fiction (each 500 words or less)
- 5 pieces of original art (submit in .jpg format)
- 1 experimental piece (found poems, screen-plays, the strange, genre-bending, and unknown)
To submit, please email GeorgeStreetPressSubmissions@gmail.com with your name, contact info (phone number/email), as well as any notes about your pieces for the editors. All documents must be in .docx or .doc format, and art pieces must be in .jpg format. Once a piece is printed into the magazine, the writer is officially a printed author! This is a perfect opportunity for English Majors to get ahead in the creative world.
About a week before the end of the semester, the George Street Press will host a release party for the Spring 2019 Edition! Stay tuned for more information. Here are some photos from last year’s event:
The Literary Festival in November 2nd was a great success! If you didn’t have a chance to attend, the theme was “The Writing Life” and there were myriad presentations spanning fiction, poetry, nonfiction, publishing, and everything in between. The guest writers and presenters showcased writing as a means of self-exploration and engagement with the world around us.
The winner of the Flash Fiction Contest was Nichole DiGirolamo, a sophomore Psychology major with a minor in Art — congratulations!
Nichole’s piece, “My Mother’s Closet,” is about childhood memories, specifically memories about the items and colors inside her mother’s closet. Nichole explains, “How I miss being a child and seeing the colors and fabrics and not having a care in the world about anything going on. I wrote the piece because of all of the wonderful memories I had in that closet trying on my mothers shoes that are always way too big. Wearing her jackets that fell to the floor and always seeing the artwork she has kept from all those years. She reacts and treats each one like a million dollar piece of art even though it was terrible.”
An excerpt from her story:
A drawing made by a girl of a house on the hill. It was made with oil pastels, greens, blues, yellows fill the page. The house small but full of windows and doors so there’s a never ending amount of light to enter the home. A bush outside the shape of a cat with a tail longer than a mile it had what looked to be roses growing on it. There’s a walk way with bright pineapple colored stepping stones and in between each stone was smaller lemon colored stones. The sides of the house rough made out of bricks and cement. In the front yard a family, I tall tan man with a mustache the size of the titanic, eyes greener than limes and scribbles on his arms to mimic tattoos. A woman short with blonde hair above her ears with beautiful greenish blue eyes and a girl with long brown hair and straight across bangs giant eyes like pools of chocolate.
This is Nichole’s favorite part of the piece because of the sentimental value: “The picture is me and my family and all the colors and the details used to describe the picture was exactly how it Is described. I drew the photo when I was about 6-7 and remember every moment of making it.” To write the piece of fiction, Nichole describes that she “sat in my mom’s closet and just took a look around at the height level I would be when I was younger. I closed my eyes and touched things and smelled things to get a better sense of my surroundings and to give better detail. I looked at things that had the most meaning, like the shoes and the money. The money showed the trips we took as a family and showed how many memories we had on those trips.”
Here are some photos from the festival on November 2nd:
Poet Le Hinton (on left) with Matt Kabik
- Festival Chair William Archibald and Assistant Chair Jeff Boyer for their work organizing the event
- Curtis Smith, Le Hinton, Jenny Hill, Michele Santamaria, Mitchell Sommers, Barb Strasko, Alex Brubaker, Megan Phillips, Phillip Benoit, Jamie Beth Cohen, Jen Hirt, Laura English, Timothy Mayers, Katarzyna Jakubiak, and Michael Deibert for agreeing to present
- Graduate Assistant Andie Petrillo for creating the WordPress site and assisting with general planning
- Rachel Hicks for creating advertising
Congratulations to Maria Rovito for publishing a book of her poems! If you have been recently published, contact Rachel Hicks with your story.
myOwnBody.docx, a collection of conceptual, cyber, and experimental poems, looks at the ways in which bodies are rendered and manipulated on screen, on the Internet, and in real life. Reading on the page as lines of code, chat room messages, and transcriptions, Rovito’s work aims to explore and reinvent the question of the body and human involvement in machinery and technology, shifting the borders between human and non-human.
Maria was profiled on the blog because a few of her poems featured in this collection were published on websites and in magazines. Check out her experiences as a grad student and a writer here.
You can find her book on Amazon.
Millersville University is hosting a Literary Festival in the McNairy Library Room 100 on November 2nd from 9am to 5pm with a keynote speaker at 7pm. Guest writers will hold sessions on writing fiction, poetry, memoir, creative essays, and journalism throughout the day. Check out the full event schedule here.
Sessions 2 and 3 of Millersville’s Literary Festival will focus on poetry. Session 2, which starts at 10am, will feature Le Hinton and Jenny Hill. Session 3, which begins at 11am, will feature Barb Strasko and Michele Santamaria. Here is some extra information about the guest poets for these sections:
Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections and his work has been widely published and nominated for various awards such as the 2016 Pushcart Prize, the 2016 Best of the Net, and inclusion in Best American Poetry 2014. His current collection, Sing Silence (formerly A Chorus for Cotton), was a finalist for “The Best Prize for People of Color” from Big Lucks and an honorable mention for the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize.
Jenny Hill is the author of six books of poetry, two of prose, and is a teaching artist in the Arts-in-Education program with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has been teaching creative writing for the past 18 years and her work has been anthologized in high school textbooks and appeared in numerous literary journals.
Barb Strasko is the author of two collections of poetry: Graffiti in Braille and On the Edge of Delicate Day. She was appointed the first Poet Laureate of Lancaster County by the Lancaster Literary Guild. Her poem “Bricks and Mortar” is engraved in granite in Lancaster’s main square.
Michele Santamaria works as a Learning Design Librarian at MU. She was a reader for the South Carolina Review and inaugural poetry editor for the journal Cherry Tree. Her poems have most recently appeared in Bayou, Bellingham Review, and Portland Review. In her current manuscript, Michele is writing about Technicolor movies, family history, beauty, and race.