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

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Professor Rackin Keeps Busy with Writing, Readings & Teaching

Professor Ethel Rackin

Ethel Rackin’s current office situation has her sharing a space with two other professors. The room is a very warm and cozy space in cottage one, complete with a fireplace. The situation is a far cry from Rackin’s normal office space in Grupp which is her own. However, because of Grupp Hall’s environmental concerns, Rackin has been moved out of her usual situation. 

Despite the change, Rackin, a language and literature professor at Bucks and director of the Wordsmiths Reading Series and Poet Laureate Program, has still been hard at work. Her new book, “In Time” is on its way towards being published next year, marking the fifth book of Rackin’s to be published. Poems of Rackin’s have been featured in places such as the Volt Literary Magazine, Allium, American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, and more.

One of Rackin’s published books is a textbook, which marked a new venture in Rackin’s career. Rackin’s textbook “Crafting Poems and Stories: A Guide to Creative Writing,” came about when a book representative asked if Rackin’s creative writing courses had textbooks. While at first, she wasn’t totally on board, Rackin eventually pursued the venture. 

The beginning of Rackin’s textbook writing began with writing teaching notes. The writing process started very slowly but when the Covid-19 pandemic came around, Rackin was able to focus on finishing the textbook. It was during this time that writing started to become easier. 

Writing a textbook was very different for Rackin. “A textbook is very laid out with other hands-on,” she said. “Poem books are however you want it to be written. Suggestions can be made with a poem, but not so much a textbook.”

Even the process of getting the book out was different. Pitching the scholarly book needed to go through a long approval process to even be written. On the contrary, a poetry book is written and released in only a year. 

The textbook came out in 2022, over five years from the time of the proposal to the book’s publishing. 

Rackin has also begun to teach the textbook she’s written. When her students buy her textbook, the funds she receives from the book go to the Kerry Barber Scholarship Fund. “I don’t want my students to feel like I’m making money off of them,” Rackin says. She’s also open to suggestions from students about her textbook as a way of adding engagement to her class. 

Rackin’s poetry books have garnered an entirely different experience. In efforts to connect with others and get word of her new book out, Rackin has done poetry readings along the East Coast.

With invites from her connections made in writing, Rackin has read at bookstores and colleges. She has also notably read at the Boston Poetry Marathon and at a yearly festival in Brooklyn. 

With her new book on its way next year, Rackin has been setting up for her upcoming reading tours. 

Rackin said, “The audience makes up the vibe of a reading,” referring to the atmosphere of her readings. “You make yourself vulnerable reading your own poetry. It’s intimate and feels very revealing,” she added. 

Rackin praised Bucks County for its audiences in places such as the Newtown Bookstore, Doylestown Bookstore and at Bucks itself for the Wordsmith series. “Bucks has a very receptive audience, very emotional and heart on their sleeves,” Rackin said. Even writers unfamiliar with Bucks County have remarked on the hospitality they’ve received.

The Wordsmiths Reading Series is also a big part of Rackin’s influence on campus. Since the 1960’s the Wordsmiths series has become nationally renowned. The series draws writers with its warm and welcoming atmosphere. As director of the Wordsmiths Series, Rackin has done her part in setting up readings for those who want to be involved and get their material out in the open. 

Students who wouldn’t ever even think of going to the Wordsmiths series have become hooked on it. “Students may think of it as going to class at first, but they really end up enjoying it,” Rackin says. 

With a new book on its way, a textbook under her belt, and a plethora of readings that she’s done and will do more of, Rackin has seemingly done it all in her time at Bucks.