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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Falling For Poetry, The Wordsmiths Reading Series Continues


The Wordsmiths Reading Series resumes this Fall, letting poets and writers read their work aloud, continuing a decades long tradition at Bucks.

The series began in the 1960s and has gone on to feature poets such as Allen Ginsberg, a prominent figure in the Beat movement. W. D. Snodgrass, who received the 1960 Nobel Prize in poetry, and Ben Marcus, a contemporary writer whose work has appeared in “The New Yorker” and “Harper’s Magazine.”

The first reading featured Joanna Fuhrman, a professor at Rutgers University, and Lynn Levin, a Bucks County poet laureate, on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The second will feature Patricia Smith, winner of the 2018 NAACP Image Award in poetry, and Hayden Saunier, recipient of a Pushcart Prize, will take place on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

All readings will be in Newtown, in Tyler Hall, room 142, and are free and open to the public.

Dr. Ethel Rackin, a Professor of Language and Literature at Bucks and the director of the Wordsmiths Reading Series as well as the Poet Laureate Program, said “I invite writers who I think students and community members will find inspiring, whenever possible, I also teach the work of visiting writers so my students experience the added benefit of getting to see those they’ve studied in action.” Dr. Rackin also personally selects and invites the writers who appear.

Wordsmith’s readings have included prose works as well as poetry.

“The series has always been popular among students and non-students alike, which is part of what makes it so special,” said Dr. Rackin. “Everyone seems to enjoy the diversity.”

According to the Bucks website, the readings have set Bucks apart from other colleges in the area, placing Bucks “at the center of the region’s literary life.”

These events give the Bucks students and others a chance to hear literature directly from the authors’ mouths. “With poetry it’s especially important to hear it aloud in order to really experience the full impact of the sounds, voice, words,” said Dr. Rackin. “It’s also helpful with fiction to hear sentences aloud in order to fully enjoy the experience.”

The readings are also made accessible through amplification. “We are always attentive to making sure that our audio system is working well,” said Dr. Rackin, then added, “We need to continue working to ensure that those who are partially deaf may be better able to enjoy the experience.”

The Wordsmiths series is organized and funded by Bucks’ Cultural Programming Committee.