Wilkes University

Manuscript Anniversary

1999Manuscript At 70

Manuscript, Wilkes University’s literary magazine, celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017. Former staff members from seven decades gathered at a party on campus over Homecoming weekend in October. The publication has a long-established tradition of promoting free expression and providing a forum for literary and visual artists.

The following selections by Wilkes alumni are samples from throughout the publication’s history. They include work that was published by alumni who were interviewed for the oral history of Manuscript that appeared in the Fall/Winter issue of Wilkes magazine.


The 60s

From the 1960 Manuscript

Ronald [Kryznewski] Kross ’60, now retired, was a professional actor and an English teacher in the New York City public schools. Kross worked on Manuscript with his classmates in Kirby Hall, back when it was the main library of Wilkes. He remembers being a “pain in the butt” for the faculty at Wilkes as he took advantage of Manuscript’s emphasis on free expression. He was told that Dr. Farley was “not pleased” with his piece on H.L. Mencken’s view of Christianity. 





I see devotion all about me, and for the thing itself have a certain amount of respect. It at least tends toward unselfishness, even when it is not unselfish in origin. Unhappily, it is nearly always wasted upon false gods. The thing I have tried to preach is simply homage to facts, clear and free thinking, intellectual decency.

Viewing the hypocritical devotion which surrounded him in a predominantly Christian nation, H. L. Mencken separated illusion from reality with unusual clear-sightedness. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, he was irked by what people seem to be and what people are. Because of his "intellectual decency," Mencken found it impossible to pinpoint his verbal attack on hypocrisy alone; consequently, the entire Christian religion became the target of his vituperation.

Other sensitive men have assailed Christianity, but none of them, in my opinion, have possessed the unique combination of munitions which Mencken possessed. He seems to have had the reason of Thomas Paine, the common sense of Benjamin Franklin, the authority of Dr. Johnson, and the wit of Cervantes. Utilizing these munitions in a quadri-barreled attack and combining them with his vigorous prose style, Mencken succeeded in rattling the complacent Christian cage. The confused clergy retorted by singing angry anathemas, but the amused intellectuals of his age embraced him.

This article is not intended to engender doubt in the minds of Christians. The purpose of this article is to survey H. L. Mencken's assault on Christianity and to try, thereby, to determine its effectiveness. It is also intended to acquaint the present generation of college students with one of the wittiest and most satirical minds of the twentieth century. Because I believe that the true spirit of Mencken can be captured only by one who reads his powerful prose style, this article will contain some rather lengthy quotations. In the interests of the conservation of space, footnotes will not be used. All direct quotations have been taken from the three sources which appear in the bibliography.

It is perhaps meet that any discussion of Christianity should begin with the Bible. In commenting on the Bible, Mencken had little to say about the Old Testament, but he found a wealth of inconsistency in the New Testament. Concerning the former, he frankly admitted that the rationality of its compilation evaded him:

How did the Book of Ruth get in -a sentimental and very charming novelette quite devoid of religious significance, whose only moral seems to be that the reward of a dutiful daughter-in-law is a rich second husband? And how the Song of Solomon-a lascivious lay of carnal love, with no more piety in it than you will find in the sonnets of Shakespeare?

Notwithstanding his own bewilderment, he firmly opposed the Jewish claim that the Song of Solomon is a hymn to the Jewish nation as the bride of Yahweh, and he also opposed the Christian claim that it is a hymn to the Christian Church as the bride of Christ. To Mencken, the following explanation was more plausible:

The Song of Solomon probably got into the canon of the Old Testament simply because the ancient rabbis could not resist its lush and overwhelming beauty. It is, in fact, the most gorgeous love-song ever written, and no doubt even the dourest Methodists and Presbyterians of today, reading it in their gloomy conventicles, are somehow conscious of that warm and comforting fact, though they try to convince themselves that it is an exercise in theology.

It is possible that Mencken was partial toward the Old Testament and trod softly upon it, for he believed that its lovely poetry made it the most beautiful book in the world.


The 70s

From the 1970 Manuscript

Ray Klimek ’78 is an assistant professor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he is the supervisor of the photography lab. Formerly, he taught English at Rutgers University. Klimek teaches History of Photography where he emphasizes that photography is a “kind of thinking….being both a creative tool and a critical tool.” He says this train of thought grew out of his experience working on Manuscript.

Poems by Ray Klimek

"After great pain ... "
for Cathy

Like a Tinguely machine
the poem about us
falls apart.
Images turn
on its wheels:

your whirring face
your scratch marks burning on my back
your eyes in flare-up…

its outlines blur

and breaking down
it sighs,




Toward the end
he lived at the continent's edge.
Behind him
the European darkness crouched
-a bitter inheritance.
Cursing it
he wrote of claw and beak
and the sound of feathers and bone
hitting the air.
Facing the ocean
he thought that its rough seascape
at least
would survive


The 80s

From the 1985 Manuscript

The Third Shore

translated from Urdu

Once we were beautiful, too
Our breath was quite like the fragrance which resides in old books
We drew pictures with many untold words
Once we were beautiful, too
Kiss us on the forehead
Because we are going to the land of butterflies and lightbugs
Lightbugs of colors and butterflies of glitter are calling us
Kiss us on the forehead
Kiss us on the forehead

Once we were beautiful, too

Altaf Khan


old men playing cards
in Public Square…
square are those khaki
hats and
square are those marble
and i suppose that
square are their lives.
like some pre-Columbian belief
the earth ends here
slipping toward the edge
of one more
he bought a funeral plot today
next to his wife
she selfishly left him alone
at the fourth corner of the
season-last winter

it was 10' by 10'.


The 90s

From the 1995 Manuscript

Kim Supper


It's days like this
I remember you.
Not the deeply imbedded parts. of you inside
my lining but your laugh,
the thickness of your hair, how you ruffled your jacket against the cold and
slid behind the steering wheel.
Cold day cloudy day
perfect for keeping your body
here in my head

Never enough
I crack you
to crawl inside
and breathe air and blood
you never • realized you had.


Deirdre Swinden’95 is the director of global marketing communications for West Pharmaceutical Services in Exton, Pa. She published her novel, The Inn, in 2015. “If I hadn’t been involved with Manuscript, I’m not sure I’d have thought of publishing my own novel, helping to realize a lifelong passion of mine,” she said.

To read Swinden’s story The Dream, which appeared in the 1995 Manuscript, please click here.


From the 1998 Manuscript

Jim Warner ’99 MFA ’09 is a member of the faculty in the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Arcadia University. He has published two poetry collections, Too Bad It’s Poetry and Social Studies, and is also the host of the CitizenLit podcast. Warner credits Manuscript for the confidence he exudes in his work today. “I was a pretty shy kid, so [writing] was a way for me to try to connect,” he explained.

Poems by Jim Warner

Naked and Often Wrong

Our boredom makes us susceptible to vice,
As we read and react we recall
that we never saw
the writing on the wall
It’s on your tongue
and burning
It’s in the neon-day glow
and grinning
Points make truth duller
Blunt-ended it starves the bellies of the hungry,
there are only so many poses you can throw to a
before the shutter locks you in.
It steals your time,
you don’t care.
Inside the snap shot world
you’re content to roll the holy papers.
Not me
because I move between flashpoints
The trigger that move me
is the hairpin of my mind.
I wish my back was stronger,
I wish my heart was smaller,
Then I wouldn’t feel guilty.

Jim Warner

The Wake

The AM alarm fires
short bursts of reality
slumbering flesh
of the dreamer
6 feet under soiled sheets.
Deep into the death go I
To join the choir visible.

James Warner


The 2000s

From the 2014 Manuscript

sarah simonovich


Sara Simonovich ’15 is the lead content writer for Petroleum Service Company. She was the executive editor of Manuscript. “Part of the reason Manuscript was such a positive influence in life was the creation… being able to put something out there that you’re proud of,” she said.

Poems by Sarah Simonovich

I Dreamt of Thunder

Last night I dreamt of thunder.
It erupted from your lungs
as lightening danced along your taste buds
and you sang of the apocalypse.
There was no God to stop you, but
I saw the angels cry, their tears fell
from the heavens in chunks of ice.
The devil grabbed your hand and
led you to dance, a macabre waltz,
limbs spinning, lips flashing blood,
the music bled from between your teeth.
I tried to stop the rhythm but
it echoed deep in my heart and
I became a part of the storm.

Sarah Simonovich


Oh Vincent, paint me a picture
and I will write you a poem in yellow.
I am deaf to the humming of
the starry skies and
allergic to the beauty of
the sunflowers.
I see the world in ink black words
rather than in watercolor images.
But what I cannot experience
I can still very much feel, for
the universe pounds in my head
the lyrics to the song of life and death.
I eat the darkness because it
is what my body craves,
it fills my inner void with
something other than deceitful color.
I bask in it, and in it I hide
from the world and its terrifying hues.
But there is something I have learned:
if you consume what you love most,
it will certainly destroy you in the end.
Oh Vincent, lend me your ear
and I will surely write you a tragedy.

Sarah Simonovich