Wilkes University

Revise This!

Revise This!

September 2017


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey.

Pennsylvania Writers Conference Held on Wilkes Campus

The 2017 Pennsylvania Writers Conference was held from July 31 to August 5, 2017. Featuring a 4-day class on memoir taught by Judy Mandel, and a 2-day conference filled with over 20 panels, craft classes, and workshops, PWC17 was a hit.

Friday morning kicked off with a 9 a.m. plenary session by four-time National Slam Finalist and 2007 Legend of the Slam Jason Carney (M.F.A. '13) and the first day ended with an Open Mic/Poetry Slam held hosted by Carney, with seven hours of conference activities in between. Saturday morning began with a plenary session featuring book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan and ended with a keynote address by Pulitzer-winning poet and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States, Natasha Trethewey.

Wilkes alums and students were well-represented in both the Open Mic/Poetry Slam on Friday night, hosted by Carney, and over 20 craft classes, workshops, panels and discussions throughout the conference. Save the date for PWC18, which will be held from July 29, 2017 to August 4, 2018. We hope to see you there!


Left to right: Jeff Minton, Vito Gulla, and Tyler Grimm presented a team-taught session on viewing Characters as Objects at PWC17.

Characters at the Conference: PWC

By C. P. Gorelick (M.A. '17)

Anna Karenina. Captain Ahab. Blanche DuBois. Hamlet. Norma Desmond. Ebenezer Scrooge. A disparate group at first glance, am I right? They are all fictional characters, but they are from such varying backgrounds. They all have problems, but who doesn't? The unifying trait of these characters is that they remain in readers' (or, in the case of Blanche, Hamlet, and Norma, viewers') memories long after their stories are done. So, how do authors create such vivid figures?

Such achievements are, perhaps, lofty goals when writing, but why not aim high? As a writer of plot-driven farce, character work is something I have always needed improve in my work. So, at the 3rd Annual Pennsylvania Writers Conference, I attended Wilkes Alumus Jennifer Bokal's (M.A. '10) class on writing Goal Statements and the team-taught session on viewing Characters as Objects, led by Tyler Grimm (M.F.A. '10) , Vito Gulla (M.F.A. '13), and Jeff Minton (M.F.A. '13). After the latter had ended, I realized how well the two discussions complimented one another.

Each dissected one aspect of character. Bokal focused on the technique of clarifying goals of the people within stories, whether it be protagonists, antagonists, secondary characters, etc. as well as the necessity of writers doing this for themselves. Grimm, Gulla, and Minton took a more clinical approach by examining and analyzing the various types of characters and their various functions in relation to the protagonist and his/her goal, and they emphasized that this technique helped maintain efficiency within a story by pinpointing repetitious or superfluous elements.

While the craft classes provided seemingly divergent perspectives on character, all four writers emphasized that each character's actions must be rooted in goals. Moreover, their views on figures within stories can be utilized from early stages of writing to late-in-the-game revisions. Needless to say, I will be using these lessons in my writing.


Local business man and philanthropist Richard Maslow, of Dallas, PA. and Naples, Fla. gave a significant financial support to benefit the graduate creative writing program. In Maslow's honor, the program was renamed to the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing on June 23, 2017.

Graduate Creative Writing Program Renamed

"My family has a deep appreciation for the arts," said Melanie Maslow-Kern, daughter of Richard Maslow and board of trustee member at Wilkes University. "We know that the Wilkes creative writing program is like no other, and we're excited to see how this gift provides new opportunities for students to realize their writing dreams."

During the June 2017 Residency, something huge was announced: the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing was shedding its name. On June 23, 2017, the program was renamed the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing in honor of Richard Maslow, who gave a seven-figure gift to the graduate creative writing program. Maslow's donation will be used to enhance the creative writing program through innovative classes and workshops, student scholarships, faculty development, and extended programming for the community at large.

"Wilkes University thanks Dick Maslow for his vision in giving this gift to the graduate creative writing program, which now will bear the Maslow name," said University President Patrick F. Leahy. "This investment continues his lifelong commitment to the arts and reflects his enthusiasm for a program that has generated incredible student success. His generosity is a vote of confidence in the future of this program and arts education at Wilkes University."

Maslow is the former CEO of InterMetro and the founder of the Maslow Family Foundation, which funds programs in the arts, education, special needs education and other charitable giving. The creative writing program is no stranger to the Maslow Family Foundation, which financially supports the Maslow Foundation Salon Reading Series, held during the residencies in January and June.

Creative writing program director Bonnie Culver said the gift provides valuable programmatic support to aspiring writers who come to Wilkes to develop their craft, learn the business of writing, and earn their master of arts and master of fine arts degrees. "The entire creative writing community joins me in thanking the Maslow family for their support. With their dedication to the arts, represented in this generous gift, we can open up more opportunities for students to hone their craft, provide resources for faculty passion projects, and continue our mission of becoming one of the best creative writing programs in the country."


During the 2016 Mailer Conference, held in Long Branch, NJ, the annual Wilkes reading featured Mailer's unpublished first novel, No Percentage. Alumni Hillary Transue (M.F.A. '17) and Caleb Sizemore (M.F.A. '17), Matt Hinton (M.F.A '10) read along with program director Dr. Bonnie Culver and faculty member Ken Vose.

Mailer Conference to be held in October 

The 15th annual Norman Mailer Society Conference will be held at the Sarasota Lido Hotel, in cooperation with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in Sarasota, FL from Oct. 26- 28, 2017.

Mailer was the first founding advisory board member of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing, and students and faculty from the CW program have read and performed his work for the last 14 years as part of the Wilkes U Readers Theatre. This year faculty, alums and students will read from various writers who eulogized Mailer after his death in 2007. The 2017 conference will celebrate and remember Mailer following the 10th anniversary of his death.

Fall Creative Writing Workshops

Course Name: First Steps in Fiction

An introductory workshop in fiction writing. Students of all experience levels and genres are welcome. You may bring a project you already have in the works, or develop one in class. The focus will be on description and detail, character and dialogue, setting and place, and voice and point of view. The class will consist of topic discussions, a short writing segment, constructive feedback, and revision.

Meetings: Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Kirby 108 September 16, 23, 30, October 7, 14, 21
Cost: $65.00 for the entire series
Instructor: Jennifer Jenkins 

Course Name: Beginner's Blogging Workshop

The internet and the blogosphere have given everyone the option to self-publish their writings, thoughts, ideas, and opinions for the world to see. Blogging can connect you with your audience, with fellow writers, and with your creative spirit. In this course, we will learn the basics of blogging, set up your first personal blog, and learn about the many ways you can create engaging content to build and maintain an audience. Each six-week session begins with a lecture on the topic at hand, followed by a guided activity session with the instructor and your fellow classmates. Some social media experience suggested but not required. 

Meetings: Tuesdays 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Breiseth 108 September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17
Cost: $65.00 for the entire series
Instructor: Angela Greco

Course Name: Playwriting – Playwriting in Two Parts

This two part playwriting workshop will teach students how to write a play, with an assignment to write a short one-act or 10-minute play (part one) and return the following week for a read through and critique of their work (part two).

Meetings: Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Kirby 103 and Kirby Salon September 16 and 23
Cost: $65.00 for the entire series
Instructor: Jan Quackenbush

Course Name: Elements of Narration

Narration frames the reader's experience and forms the foundation of your story, yet many writers give narrative structure little thought. Through examples and exercises, this workshop will teach you how to choose and better employ narrative techniques (such as point of view and voice) to engage the reader with your fiction.

Meetings: Wednesdays 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Kirby 108 September 13, 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18
Cost: $65.00 for the entire series Instructor: Dr. Anthony Kapolka

Master Class If You Know What I Mean: Writing Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction

The workshop will focus on both genres fairy-tale and mythical underpinnings, their characters and plots and settings, and the qualities editors tend to look for in historical or contemporary work. Also, we'll discuss crucial craft issues such as point of view and mixing genres, and what themes are allowed -- or not -- in the contemporary publishing marketplace. Participants will submit a 15 to 20-page writing sample – a short story or opening chapter – by September 7. During the workshops, we will engage in readings, discussion, critique, revisions, and planning for post-workshop manuscript completion and submission.

Meetings: Evenings (Oct 2-5) – 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Kirby 103 *Note: Class will meet in Breiseth Hall, Room 316 on Oct. 2 ONLY from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.Saturday (Oct. 7) – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Kirby 103 October 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
Cost: $125.00 for the entire series
Instructor: Lenore Hart


Laurie Jean Cannady (Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul) discussed her writing process and signed books at the Wilkes and Etruscan booth at AWP17.

AWP18 Schedule Filled with Wilkes CW Names

The 2018 AWP Conference & Bookfair will be held at the Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside from March 7-10, 2018.

Current students are invited to apply for an AWP17 registration waiver, which covers the cost of conference registration; housing will be provided for graduate assistants, interns, and staff working at AWP. Transportation will be at your expense. Contact Associate Director Bill Schneider at bill.schneider@wilkes.edu for more information.


Remica Bingham-Risher (What We Ask of Flesh) signed books at AWP17.

In exchange for your conference waiver, students are required to spend a minimum of two hours each day working at the Wilkes/Etruscan booth. Working the booth is a great way to network with authors, publishers, and other graduate students from around the country while promoting the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing to potential students.

The full AWP18 schedule will be released in October, and more information can be found at www.awpwriter.org.

While you're in Tampa, swing by these sessions and support the Wilkes CW family, including program partners Akashic Books, Etruscan Press, and Kaylie Jones Books:


Jason Carney

  • Old School Slam and Open Mic

Susan Cartsonis

  • Adapting Your Work for TV, Digital and Feature Film Mediums
  • The Hollywood Equation: Building Your Screenwriting Career and Finding Your Writer's Voice through Peer, Mentor and Comm

Kaylie Jones

  • Tearing Down Societal & Family Myths in Creative Writing

Program Partners:

Akashic Books:

Ibrahim Ahmad (Editorial Director)

  •  Collaboration on Creative Publishing: Supporting New and Diverse Voices
  •  TECHNO BLACK: Connecting the Mobile Reader to Globally Diverse Writers

Johnny Temple (Publisher and Editor-in-Chief)

  • Getting the Word Out: How to Approach Book Promotion to Actually Reach Readers
  • Political Pivoting: Literary Publishing at the Pace of Politics
Etruscan Press:

Kazim Ali (The Disappearance of Seth)

  • Muslim Writers Speak Out
  • Two-countries. U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents. An Anthology of Flash Memoir, Personal Essays and Poetry
  • The Future of Forms
  • Wesleyan University Press Poetry Reading

Nin Andrews (Advisory Board Member)

• Hair as Myth and Metaphor: Five Women Poets on Cultural Transgression

Remica Bingham-Risher (What We Ask of Flesh)

  • Stay In Your Lane Or...

Bruce Bond (Choir of the Wells, Cinder, The Other Sky, and Peal)

  • 30 Years of Influence Across Genres in Indigenous Literature: Tribute for Diane Glancy

Laurie Jean Cannady (Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul)

  • Tearing Down Societal & Family Myths in Creative Writing

David Lazar (Who's Afraid of Helen of Troy: An Essay on Love)

  • More and Different: Literary Nonfiction and the University Press

Paul Lisicky (The Burning House)

  • How to Hit the Ground Running: Strategies for Building Better Workshops
  • Fierce Muses: Inspiration During Times of Social Unrest

J. D. Schraffenberger (Saint Joe's Passion)

  • Stealing from STEM: Applying Pedagogies From Other Disciplines in the Creative Writing Classroom

 Tim Seibles (Fast Animal and One Turn Around the Sun)

  •  Stay In Your Lane Or...
  • What We Really Tell When We Tell of Home: The Resonant Poetics of Narrative
Kaylie Jones Books:

Patricia Smith (The Year of Needy Girls)

  • If You Haven't Lived It, Can You Write It?

J. Patrick Redmond (Some Go Hungry)

  • Tearing Down Societal & Family Myths in Creative Writing

Faculty, Student, and Alumni News

Faculty News:

Blue Moon Plays recently published Bonnie Culver's play Sniper. Sniper has been produced at college, community theatres, and professional companies since 1995 when it opened in Los Angeles. In 2005, it was produced in NYC at Center Stage when it was a play of the week by The Star-Ledger. Visit nytheater.com for more information.


J. Michael Lennon's Norman Mailer: The 1960's Collection.

J. Michael Lennon is editing the first two of several volumes of the works of Norman Mailer to be published by the Library of America, the non-profit publisher of major American authors such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Susan Sontag and other canonical writers. Volume one will contain four Mailer works from the 1960s: An American Dream, Why Are We In Vietnam? The Armies Of The Night And Miami and The Siege Of Chicago (all four won, or were nominated for, the National Book Award). Volume two will contain 36 of Mailer's essays from the 60's, beginning with "Superman Comes to the Supermarket." Publication date for the boxed set is February 27. Order your copy here.


David Poyer's Hinter Killer.

Lenore Hart Poyer had two poems ("The Well-Shooter's Wake" and "On Visiting the Castle of My Drawn and Quartered Ancestor") accepted for publication in Alternating Current, and so are also finalists for this year's Charter Oak Prize for a historical poem. Another poem, "Cthulhu, Call Your Mother," will appear in the annual Horror Writers Association HWA Poetry Anthology, later this year. Lenore's short story Thirteen Ways of Living With a Wolf" (read at the June Residency) is a semi-finalist for the Florida Review's 2017 Editor's Award in Fiction.

David Poyer's newest novel in the Dan Lenson series Hunter Killer is set to release on November 28, 2017, but has already received praise from Publisher's Weekly. "Each book moves the story forward and primes readers for the thrills that are sure to come in future entries." Read the full review here.

Student and Alumni News:

Molly Barari (M.F.A. '17) has been selected to teach a memoir writing workshop for the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, S.D., in September.  

Cheryl Bazzoui (M.A. '14) had two reviews posted in Story Circle at storycirclebookreviews.org in June. Bazzoui is featured in Jewels of San Fedele, edited by Donna Ferraro and Roads by Marina Antropow Cramer.

Lauren Carey (M.F.A. '11) has accepted a position as part of the writing faculty at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL.

Cindy Dlugolecki (M.A. '11) was invited to stage Violet Oakley Unveiled, her full-length one-woman play, at Drexel University, Philadelphia, for a sold-out audience on May 20 for Alumni Weekend. Cindy also had a staged reading of her new ten-minute play, Blocked, during Mt. Gretna's August Cicada Festival.  


Brian Fanelli's Waiting for the Dead to Speak.

Brian Fanelli (M.F.A. '10) has been awarded the 2017 Devil's Kitchen Poetry Prize for his latest collection of poems, Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books). He will receive a cash prize and give a reading and serve on a panel at the Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in late October.

Patricia Florio (M.F.A. '11) : The Coaster, a Jersey Shore weekly, ran pictures and shared an interview by reporter Denise Herschel focused on Florio's involvement in creating the Jersey Shore Writers back in 2001 with Alum Carol MacAllister and Gayle Aanensen. Florio's children's book entitled Puppy in My Pocket, published by Alum Wendy Decker at Serenity Books Publishing and illustrated by AnnMarie Freda was also featured in the article.

Lori A. May (M.F.A. '13) has an essay on whale spotting in an upcoming issue of Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. She was also recently contracted for a story on Oregon surfing. Lori has recently returned from a trip to the Canadian Maritimes, where she was aboard a whale research vessel, attended a shark autopsy, and fit in a little bit of teaching, too.

Oliver Reilly (M.F.A. '13) read and performed in Basement Poetry's OUT on August 25th and 26th. OUT is a performance art production featuring original poetry that delves into the vast experiences of members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Anthony Dolan Scott, (M.F.A. '14) started a brand-new full-time faculty position teaching composition and literature classes at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics this fall. It's an award-winning magnet high school with some of the most talented students and faculty in the state of Maine, named the #1 high school in the state, #19 high school in the nation, #6 magnet school in the nation, and #10 STEM school in the nation.

Joseph Schwartzburt (M.F.A. '13) serves on the board of the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home, which was proud to present the 2017 Ursrey Memorial Lecture with author Ann Hood on Friday September 1st, 2017. The lecture was the 8th iteration of a series whose past presenters have been Roxane Gay, Jaimy Gordon, Luis Urrea, and Robert Olen Butler.

Ronnie K. Stephens (M.A. '17) completed a 22-week poetry curriculum for Young DFW Writers, a non-profit bringing weekly writing workshops to 20 schools in the Dallas area.


MA Student Kristen Weller.

Ahrend Torrey (M.F.A. '16) is currently working on a collection of poems titled City Monk, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of this year. Over the last month his poems have appeared in Sweet Tree Review, Beneath The Rainbow, and Edify Fiction. In August, he launched Colloquial, which is a poetry review that exalts the ordinary and every day. To find out more about Colloquial visit: www.colloquialpoetry.org.

Kristen Weller (MA Student) was featured in Hippocampus Literary Journal with her essay entitled What Writer and Teacher Can Tell You About Craft in the Craft column. The piece explores the inner conflict most of us experience who have a passion for honing our craft while managing so many demands from others. Included in the essay is an exploration of Annie Dillard's The Writing Life
On June 14, 2017, Weller was awarded the Mortimer S. Schiff Award for Reducing Hatred and Prejudice in Northampton, PA. Weller wrote a comprehensive, Holocaust education program for middle school students in my district called "Learn, Listen, Lead: Honoring the Survivors Among Us." The one-day student conference offers nearly 500 eighth graders the chance to see the play, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, a literary drama they had all read and studied as part of their English classes, meet first, second, and third generation Holocaust survivors, and participate in several, art, writing, and discussion activities in small groups.