New poem at Gnarled Oak

announcements, publications

Thanks to Gnarled Oak for publishing my poem “Westbound PA Turnpike“.



New year, new issue!


Proud of our Widener students who’ve worked hard on the new issue of The Blue Route, featuring 8 pieces by undergraduates from across the country.

The Blue Route

Welcome back everyone! To kick off a new semester, we’ve launched Issue 15, which can be viewed here! These pieces truly are the best of the best…out of the dozens of submissions we received last semester, the 8 featured in this issue truly blew us away! Take this relaxing Sunday to read each piece in the issue and get inspired, because we are reading submissions for Issue 16 now through March 1st!

Continue to follow our team this semester by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and keeping up with the blog here. Best wishes for a successful and happy spring semester from everyone at the Blue Route!

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Looking back on a year’s worth of reading

books, reading

Here’s a list of the books I read or finished reading in 2015. In some cases, these were re-reads, and I’ve also included books that I re-read for courses I taught, which honestly, is one of the pleasures of teaching–you get the opportunity to revisit old friends in print.

Trout fishing in america by Richard Brautigan
In watermelon sugar by Richard Brautigan
Walden by Thoreau
Turtle island by Gary Snyder
Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta
The End of Nature by Bill McKibben
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
The monkey wrench gang by Edward Abbey
What the living do by Marie Howe
Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
The Mindful Writer by Dinty Moore
Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama
The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad
The Kings of Rock and Roll by Mark Edmundson
Attack of the 50 foot woman by Carolina Morales
The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs
Highway rain by Kenneth Pobo
American Poetry 19th century vol. 1, Library of America
Kingdom of ordinary time by Marie Howe
The Art of Living by John Gardner
Mumbo Jumbo by  Ishmael Reed
The Country and the City by Raymond Williams
11 Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates
Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl
Dora a case history by Sigmund Freud
Education of henry adams by Henry Adams
Wandering by Hermann Hesse
Faust part ii by Goethe
Rosshalde by Hermann Hesse
Dream of a Democratic culture by Tim Lacy
The ambassadors by Henry James
Within a budding grove by Marcel Proust
Beyond the University by Michael S. Roth
The Golden Bowl by Henry James
My struggle 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Letters to my Younger Self, ed. by Jayne Thompson and Emily DeFreitas
Klingsor’s Last Summer by Hermann Hesse
On writing by Stephen King
The Great ideas today, 1965
Loon Lake by E.L. Doctorow
Forests by Robert Pogue Harrison
Encyclical on environment by Pope Francis
American Earth, ed. by Bill McKibben
Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Twilight of the idols, the antichrist by Nietzsche
Dead white guys by Matt Burriesci
John Keats by Walter Jackson Bate
Essays of Francis bacon
Spit back a boy by Iain Haley Pollack

51 books, almost an average of 1 per week. Not bad. I hope to do better in 2016. Happy new reading year to all!



Community Bridge Bridges Community


I was happy to attend this Boundaries and Bridges event on the pedestrian bridge over I-95. Exciting artistic developments are taking off in Chester, PA.

The Blue Route

Lately, there’s been a huge push on our campus to connect the city of Chester and Widener University through art…we love it! Staff member Kelsey Styles tells more about the latest of such events, Boundaries and Bridges, which seeks to both strengthen the art and cultural presence in the city, as well as connect the university to the city.

On November 13, students, faculty, and professors of Widener University meshed with members of the community on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge as part of the much larger Boundaries and Bridges project.

John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls' promotional Boundaries and Bridges video. John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls’ promotional Boundaries and Bridges video.

The hum of engines pulsed in the background, but that did little to deter performers as they stood in front of Devon Walls’ camera and read their work or talked about their projects or sang songs inviting change. Some cars honked up at them, but that only…

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Donald Duck does math

creative writing

In the novel I am working on, I have a character who remembers coming to the aid of his instructional-media-challenged teachers. He would thread the film projector so they could watch nuggets like this Walt Disney short feature on math. I probably saw it more than once in school, but I couldn’t remember the precise name of it. It didn’t take long to find (thank you, Internet overlords!). Seeing it again is a gigantic nostalgia trip for me. Without further ado, here’s “Donald in Mathmagic Land”



One of the greatest pleasures of summer is the opportunity the season affords me to catch up on reading. I have been mowing through books lately, taking my time with larger tomes such as Proust’s Within a Budding Grove, Henry James’ The Ambassadors, Plutarch’s Lives, and Knausgaard’s My Struggle Book 1 — books that require diligence and patience and are best savored slowly in languid hours. Because I teach college, I am lucky to have the hours to dwell in those tomes during time off. IMAG0183I seem always to be juggling several books at once, and I like to balance the long and dense ones with shorter, less clotted books. Yesterday I finished Hermann Hesse’s Rosshalde. Like all of Hesse’s books that I have completed to date, it was a fast read. I got through it in a day. Hesse has a clean, direct prose style, and the effortless translation by Ralph Manheim probably has a lot to do with that.

Rosshalde tells the story of a famous painter Johann Veraguth, who lives on a palatial estate with his wife Adele. He has an older son Albert, home from school for the summer, who hates him, and a younger son Pierre whom he adores. All is not well at the house of Veraguth, despite the painter’s fame and enviable lifestyle. Johann and Adele live in separate quarters, and generally speaking can’t stand each other’s company. Little Pierre is caught in the middle. Johann loses himself in work. In all other respects he has become numb to life. An old friend of Johann’s visits him, and, after learning about how bad the home life is, invites Veraguth to join him later in the fall on a journey to India. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I’ll say this — the book ends tragically but also on a note of rebirth. Hesse artfully and seamlessly captures the mixed feelings that occur when a phase of your life ends and is confronted by absolute loss alongside fresh possibilities. Something is lost irretrievably and something is gained. I’ll finish with an insight towards the end of the novel:

“Sauntering on along the wet paths, he tried to follow back the threads of his life, whose simple fabric he had never before seen so clearly. It came to him without bitterness that he had followed all those pathways blindly. He saw clearly that despite his many attempts, despite the yearning that had never left him, he had passed the garden of life by. Never had he lived out a love to its bottommost depths, never until these last days.”

Rosshalde is the kind of novel that awakens your sense of being in time, and how we become aware of this at pivotal points in life, when circumstances erupt and change becomes inevitable.

Turk’s Head Review #5 now available


thr5Issue 5 In Print, Now Available!  We’ve been busy selecting, compiling and editing some of the best poetry, prose and artwork published online at the Turk’s Head Review site in the past year. And now our latest print issue is here in full bloom.

Inside Issue 5 you will discover fine writing from Terry Barr, Matt Broaddus, Joseph Buehler, Dylan Crawford, Michael Fisher, John Grey, Lowell Jaeger, Rudy Koshar, Chara Kramer, Caroline Morales, Kathleen O’Neil, Elaine Olund, Jane Ozkowski, Andrew Pidoux, Alec Solomita, and Adam Tedesco. We also feature photos and artwork by Stacy Esch, Allen Forrest, Thomas Gillaspy, and Kirbee Veroneau.

We’re proud of this issue and happy to share these writers in print with our readers and fellow writers. Print copies are now available, which includes a free digital download of the issue as well.
Get your own copy today.  Thanks and happy reading.

via Turk’s Head Review.