By Kelsey Styles ’17
The love of literature that Widener University creative writing professors Dr. Michael Cocchiarale and Jayne Thompson share couldn’t be contained on campus alone. It flourished within the walls of Widener and spilled over into the nearby town of Media where a reading series they organized is entering its sophomore year.
The State Street Reading Series, co-sponsored by Widener and the Media Arts Council, begins its second season this month and continues on the third Thursday of every other month.
“We’d like people to know that there’s something literary going on in Media,” Cocchiarale said. His hope is that more people are aware of its presence as an ongoing program “even if they can’t make it to every event.” At 7 p.m. on Sept. 17, Cocchiarale will read alongside Philadelphia author Asali Solomon.
Each event runs two hours, but each writer only reads for about twenty minutes. Authors who present are encouraged to bring copies of their book for purchase. The reading series, held at the Media Arts Center Gallery at 609 W. State St., is free to attend and reservations are not required.
Cocchiarale has been pleased with the attendance and overall outcome of readings in the first year. “We like where it’s going,” he said.
Several faculty members read last year, including Dr. Ken Pobo who shared selections from his poetry. Thompson read from the book she edited, Letters to my Younger Self: An Anthology of Writing by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook, which will also be this year’s common reading experience for Widener freshman. Local authors have included Nicole (Scarpato) Monaghan, an author and 1996 Widener English graduate, and Louis Greenstein, author of the novel Mr. Boardwalk. Novelist Alan Drew and poet Nathalie Anderson have been chosen as readers for November.
“There are lots of talented people in this area,” Cocchiarale said. “We like the fact that we have solidified this as something that Widener does, but it’s also a great way to network. We wanted to build bridges with the community. Any time you can raise the profile of writers in the area, I think that’s a good thing.”
For more information, see the press release.