The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Wordsmiths Series Continues With March 2 Event Featuring Poets Fernandes and Steinberg

Author Megan Fernandes, courtesy of the BCCC website

The Wordsmith Series resumes in the new year by continuing the traditional readings and keeping the cultural impact of the events alive, something the series has done since the 1960s.

The first event of 2023 will take place on Thursday, March 2 at 12:30 p.m. in Tyler Hall 142, where poets Megan Fernandes and Nicole Steinberg will be sharing their new work with the audience.

A light lunch will be served afterward.

Bucks County Community College is the proud founder and home of the Wordsmith Series, which was organized by BCCC’s Cultural Programming Committee. The readings are celebrations of literature, where featured poets are invited to read their creations to an audience.

​Dr. Ethel Rackin, a Language and Literature professor at Bucks, is the current director of the Wordsmith Reading Series and Poet Laureate Program. Dr. Rackin has been organizing these public collaborations since 2010, shortly after she began her teaching career at Bucks.

The first Wordsmiths reading was in the 1960s, and featured Allen Ginsburg strumming on his guitar, and chanting verses to the audience as they swayed sitting on top of cushions on the floor.

Since then, the series has featured outstanding and respected poets over time. In recent years, the series has also featured renowned fiction writers.

Dr. Rackin stated, “For more than forty years, the Wordsmith Series has placed Bucks at the center of the literary arts scene in the region,” allowing the college to be recognized as the leader of the illustrious series by many Philadelphia-area colleges and universities. “Literature lovers throughout the tri-state region and beyond are aware of our series.”

​Not only are the readings a way for the public to experience hearing a favored writer, but they are also an opportunity for students to use what they learn in the classroom during a wider world event.

The series has become a home and community for a society of writers, poetry enthusiasts, and art lovers whose passion helps drive the continuation of the readings. “I think it’s fair to say that the public loves the series, as do I,” Dr.Rackin explains. “We count on it to introduce us to wonderful new writing in an inviting and comfortable environment.”

Dr. Rackin invites the authors to the events herself. “I reach out mainly via email since I know some of the authors personally, many of them I don’t as well.”

Hearing authors read their work out loud and in person is something new the literation-loving community has gotten to experience. “While it was definitely different, we continued to have the readings over Zoom during quarantine,” Dr. Rackin explained.

The Wordsmith reading series started having its first in-person events this past Fall of 2022 since the Covid-19 virus.

Dr. Rackin shared her thoughts about the difference between having the series in person versus over zoom, adding, “Hearing poetry in person brings it alive because public events are communal and shared by nature, whereas reading is generally a solitary act.”

Keeping the community and culture alive during solitude helped maintain the popularity and attendance of the event. “Our events get quite a bit of attention right now.” Dr.Rackin added, “Plus, these events include food and conversation afterward!”

All Wordsmith Reading Series events are free and open to the public!