From Page to Stage: Spring Contest Winners Get Ready for the Summer Slam

By Professor Maria Thiaw     Snip20150812_12

In honor of National Poetry Month, The Academy of American Poets sponsors a contest each year for undergraduate writers at colleges and universities throughout the country. This year, The Central Pen Poetry Prize’s panel of judges, a group of distinguished professors and writers, received numerous high quality entries. The competition was fierce, but in the end, three emerging wordsmiths rose to the surface. I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Central Pen Poetry Prize. They are:

Third Place:                       Story of a Dark Skin Beauty by Nautica Chance

In the words of one distinguished judge: “It’s a powerful and emotional narrative about a pain that is all too real.”

Nautica performed this poignant poem at Central Penn College’s first Kwanzaa celebration last December, and its power resonates whether one hears it on the stage or reads it on the page. Nautica will receive $25.

 

Second Place:                   I Am Black History by Teta GayeTeta5

“Potent imagery,” commented one judge, “[Teta] delivers a strong sense of self and place with an appreciation of self and history and the connections in between. Strong and eloquent.”

Teta, president of the Knight Writers’ Creative Writing Club, speaks out in the spirit of ancestral pride in this cultural anthem.  She will receive $50.00.

 

First Place:                         One of Those Days by Mary Weingartner

Mary’s poem began as a writing prompt in her ENG300 Creative Writing class. A blend of ekphrastic writing (writing inspired by art) and emotionalism, this well-formed free verse poem is a vivid word-painting. One of the judges said, “This poem has a strong emotional impact…the ending is amazing!”

Mary will receive $100.00 and a year’s membership in the Academy of American Poets as well as the chance to be entered into the Academy’s national prize that will award the winning student $1,000.

On behalf of The Central Pen staff, the distinguished judges and the Dean of Humanities and Sciences, special thanks go out to all of the students that worked hard to polish their poems and submit them. As stated previously, the competition was fierce. All of these budding artists created beautiful and thought provoking work.  Continue writing because you are all incredibly talented!

Keep your eye on updates from The Central Pen. The Summer Poetry Slam, a spoken word poetry competition is Wednesday, September 7th at 7pm in the Capital BlueCross Theatre! We want to hear your voices.

To enter the slam or to get more information about The Knight Writers Creative Writing Club or The Central Pen, contact thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu or see me, Professor Maria Thiaw in Bollinger 46.

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by | August 9, 2016 · 7:21 pm

Happy Summer!

CentralPen LogoThe staff of The Central Pen Literary E-zine welcome you back for the Summer term!  Spring was extremely busy and our creative writing students and staff worked to compile a plethora of new poems and articles which you will see post periodically this term. You can also follow us on our new Twitter page: @CentralPen. Central Penn College is filled with incredibly talented students!

We are excited to meet the first term students and those who are just transferring in as well. We are planning an a term full of summer fun activities including the Afro-chic Boutique on July 16th and a poetry slam on September 7th. Please get to know us and the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club at Club Fair on Wednesday, July 6th outside the Knight and Day Cafe.

The Central Pen is the voice of the Knight Writers, promoting the arts and showcasing the work of creative friends, faculty and staff of Central Penn College. If you enjoy writing or visual art, please consider submitting a poem, short story, article or artwork to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu today!

Lastly, The Central Pen staff would like to offer a hearty congratulations to Dr. Karen Scolforo, who graduated from Southern New Hampshire University over break with her MFA in Creative Wriitng. Thank you for modeling the writing life and embracing the arts at Central Penn College. We can’t wait to see that novel in print!

Happy Summer! See you at Club Fair!

The Central Pen Staff

 

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Call for Submissions!

TypewriterIn anticipation for a future print edition of The Central Pen Literary E-zine, the new Central Pen staff is planning a submission blitz! That means that we need YOU to polish up your best poems, short stories, creative non fiction or visual art and submit to us via email: thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu. We are looking for unpublished work by students, staff, faculty and alumni of Central Penn College.

When you submit, You retain all rights to your work. By sending your work in to us, you are consenting to The Central Pen publishing it to the site.  We may or may not publish your work in our annual print magazine, and retain the right to republish the work on the site at our discretion.  There is no payment for the work–only the glory of being part of The Central Pen!

Please include the following contact information:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Short Biography
  • Photograph

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This submission blitz ends Friday May 5th! Send in your poetry, short story, visual art or essay today!

~ Acquisitions Team

Submission Flyer

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2016 Poetry Contest!

Poetry Contest 2016The Central Pen Literary E-zine and The Academy of American Poets is proud to present the 2016 Poetry Contest!  All current Central Penn College students are invited to participate.  The first place winner will receive a $100 prize, a one-year subscription to the Academy of American Poets, and publication in the e-zine.  Second place will receive $50 and publication in the e-zine.  Third place will receive $25 and publication in the e-zine.  Submit to TheCentralPen@centralpenn.edu before April 29, 2016 to be considered!

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by | March 30, 2016 · 1:14 pm

A Celebration of Sisterhood: Knight Writers host Poetry-filled Jewelry Party to End Human Trafficking

March is Women’s History Month, and so the Knight Writers feel there is no better time to focus on an issue that has been affecting women for generations–violence against women and its ugly cousin, human trafficking. human trafficking
 
On Thursday, March 3rd from 4:00 – 6:00 PM in room 203 of the ATEC building, we will be hosting “Literary Libation, a fundraiser for Women at Risk International (W.A.R.).”  This event is free and open to the public.
Participants can share their own poetry or songs and enjoy the powerful spoken word performance of featured poet, Kali Meister of Chatanooga, TN.
 
In addition, W.A.R. International will be selling a beautiful array of handmade jewelry and other items to fund efforts to save women trapped in the clutches of modern-day slavery. Help Us end these atrocious crimes against humanity! Join the Knight Writers on Thursday, March 3rd at 4pm in ATEC 203.
 
For more information please visit http://warinternational.org/news-media/video-gallery/ .

Knight Writers present: Literary Libation; A fundraiser to help end human trafficking!

Knight Writers present: Literary Libation; A fundraiser to help end human trafficking!


 

 

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An Exquisite Corpse Comes to Club Fair!

Knight WritersThanks to all of the students that participated in the Knight Writers’ “Exquisite Corpse” story building game at the Winter Club fair! The Exquisite Corpse was a party game played by surrealist French artists and poets in the early 20th century. One person would write a phrase or create an image, then fold the paper over to conceal part of it. They would then pass it to the next person, who would add their contribution. This collaborative and creative effort often has amazing results!

If you enjoy playing with language, writing poetry, stories, rap, drama or creative nonfiction, come to the Knight Writers’ Creative Writing Club kickoff meeting in the library’s leadership room at 2:30 on Wednesday, January 20th. You will learn what the club is all about and have the opportunity to join. Help build our story! For more information contact us at thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu or visit our Facebook page.

Here is what we came up with on Wednesday, January 6th at the Club Fair in the Capital BlueCross Theatre. Can you add the next line?

 

Once the new year began, Joe decided to make some changes in his life…

And then suddenly life slapped him in the face!

And justice was served…

In walked Bill.

Bill was tall. His skin was leathery…

His hair was black as night…

His eyes were coal….

Much to Joe’s surprise, when he confronted him…

he was very soft spoken…

However, he carried a big stick…

And then suddenly, he threw it in the river!

He found a dog swimming to land…

And then he took it home…

And then he went to sleep…

not realizing that the new canine friend he had found was really…

 

The story continues…

girl-writing-stars

Leave a comment to add another line or two to our story! Join us for refreshments at 2:30, Wednesday, January 20th in the library to continue the saga and hear the final results!

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Topics in Multiculturalism Class Explores the Voices From The Land

ChristineZeidersA few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an amazing training weekend for teachers from the EIRC’s Monarch Teacher Network. It was called “Voices from the Land. ” The project blended lessons in the principles and elements of design, the elements of poetry, writing and environmental science as well as multiculturalism and multimedia.  We were informed by the beautiful and inspiring work of environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, and wrote and published poetry based on our own environmental creations. I was thrilled for the opportunity to introduce this project to Central Penn College students in the Topics in Multiculturalism class on Earth Day, 2015.

The Voices From the Land project allows students to go outside and become one with nature, then allow nature to speak to them and through them. After several weeks of discussing how different cultural groups used art to promote social protest movements, students were open to imbuing their own thoughts and beliefs into this project using natural elements around them. After creating and photographing their artwork, they wrote poetry about them. Christine Zeiders sculpted natural elements to create the photograph you see on the left. Below are a few more photos and poems from my Spring 2015 class.  These students weren’t art or creative writing majors but they put a lot of effort into these projects and did a fabulous job.

JenaiaOnly She Knows

by Jenaia Everett

Only she knows what lies behind the center of her joy.

Fear, uncertainty, change and

hope encompasses her soul like the circle of life,

like the eye of a storm, who’s power swallows her emotions deep within.

Only she knows what lies behind the center of her joy.

The sky cries like the tears streaming down her face,

shedding darkness and dismay.

From the death of past hurt and pain, rises color,

happiness and light.

But only she knows what lies behind the center of her joy.

A new beginning, a new circle, a new life.

The calm and quiet well after the storm.

But only she knows what lies behind the center of her joy.

 

Sun Moon Star

by Matthew C. McCottryMatthew

Sun meets tree

high on the hill

Tree s t r e t c h e s

and leaves dance in

fading shadows

slowly

beneath the trees

Smooth, fluffy cotton surrounds the

opaque moon

Moon reveals its scars to a world

of dreamers

Night owls sing to the starlight above

stories of galaxies

framed in black

Sun, Moon, Star,  together eternal.

 

SarahYoung HollyRamsey:

Left: Sarah Young ;  Right: Holly Ramsey

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Facing the Changing Father Figure in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

During the glorious summer weeks leading up to the July 14th release date of Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s second novel and sequel to every 11th grader’s favorite, To Kill A Mockingbird, I’d heard everything. From admonitions from those who descried a sequel, to controversies about Ms. Lee’s mental state, there was no shortage of opinions or speculation about the relative merit and eventual  legacy of Ms. Lee’s follow-up to the coming-of-agWatchmane story of Scout, Jem, Dill (remembering these names yet?), and Boo Radley.

Thanks to my student membership in Amazon Prime (highly recommended), my crisp copy of the book arrived on release day.

I was all set to write a simple review, with a tongue-in-cheek, under-qualified “thumbs up/thumbs down” at its conclusion, but then I felt I would be doing the book a disservice in comparison to the deep cultural reactions from my friends as well as those folks covered in the press.

I wondered, perhaps even aloud, “What could I do to make my reading of the book meaningful to others?” I decided that I would take up as my audience an imagined version of my students, themselves bound to wonder if their instructors actually practice what they (t)each when it comes to doing critical reading.

They do . . .Watchman 2

The story itself features but a handful of characters, few of whom can be found in Mockingbird. I was unprepared to learn quite early on that Jem, Scout’s older brother, had dropped dead. Yes, he just dropped dead (this knowledge becomes more significant later on, but as I read it the first time I found myself writing a NSFW response in the margin of the text), so I wouldn’t be reading about a successful cannery that he and Dill incorporated, or about his exploits playing football for the Methodists.

No, this read what going to be much different from what I expected. Jem had been killed off so that we might focus more closely on Miss Jean Louise Finch, still referred to as “Scout” by family members and the other inhabitants of Maycomb, Alabama.

As I read, I made copious notes in my journal…Watchman 3

The events in Watchman take place twenty years after those of Mockingbird, although at points in the book we get brief snapshots of other time-bound events (without reference to the actual times to which the events are bound, of course). I later realized that this bit of foreshadowing allows us to better apprehend the import of Scout’s fragmented memory. It, much like the self-consciousness and conscience about which she was so proud, is not consistent. This is not really a surprise, though, since twenty years have passed.

However, what is surprising is that Scout has received a college education. The fact itself is not surprising, but as the story reaches its climax we are presented with reactions and thoughts from Scout that belie this education. This might be seized upon as a way to read the text against itself, but that paper would really belong in a different forum with an amazingly smaller readership.

The climax of which I speak is Scout’s clandestine attendance at a town meeting called to debate and discuss potential NAACP actions in Maycomb. At the same time as Scout does, we learn that Atticus Finch is not as perfect as our memories would like. One of the admonitions that stuck with me as I began the book concerned Atticus. In essence, many readers of Mockingbird did not want what their idealized father, Atticus, to be shown as anything “less than,” and they swore off reading Watchman to keep that ideal father alive. Continue reading

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2015 Slam Champs Ignite the Mic then Walk Away with Cold Hard Cash

Winners with swagOn Thursday, September 3rd The Central Pen Literary E-zine and Professor Maria Thiaw’s ENG330 Contemporary American Writers of Color class coordinated Central Penn College’s 3rd annual Poetry Slam. The event was hosted by activist poet and entrepreneur Jubair Yother and ENG330 student, Daouda Bamba.  Professional spoken word artist “The Gingerbread Man” made an appearance, and the event was judged by students, faculty and staff.

First prize weAmanda2nt to Amanda Khloer, a 2014 graduate and founding member of Knight Writers Creative Writing Club   . The second went to Rob Hollenbach, a student inspired by ENG330, who gave a powerful and poignant message of love in the face of racism, war, and homophobia. Knight Writer Teta Gaye walked away with 3rd place for her poetic statement of cultural pride. Each student received cash and a Central Penn cinch sac.

In addition to the art of spoken word poetry, the audience was exposed to visual art displays featuring contemporary writers, including Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Joy Harjo and others. These colorful displays were created by ENG330 students.

For more information about upcoming literary events, keep visiting The Central Pen Literary E-zine. You can also join The Knight Writers, an organization of students that enjoy creative writing in all of its forms. Their first meeting is the S’mores Social at 3:45 on Thursday, October 8th in the Writing Center.

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Indulge Your Writer’s Cravings!

Snip20150702_48Of course, you want to write.  Everyone wants to write.  But there’s a difference between wanting to write and actually doing it.  There are a thousand excuses why we don’t start writing projects, and a thousand more for why we don’t finish them.  More often than not, the easiest way to jump start a writing routine is to indulge one of your writer’s craving for the things that writer’s love most: pens, papers, books….coffee.   Here are some of our staff’s best picks for indulging your dangerously creative self.


 

133744_411_2Of course, this list is going to start with a pen because of course it is.  And not just any pen.  One of the most sassy writing pens you can get.  Made by kate spade new york, the Nom de Plume ball point pen will set you back a cool $36, but it’s worth it.  Besides, that won’t like very much at all when you are sitting on top of the New York Times‘ bestseller’s list.  (Also, when you get to the number one spot, don’t forget who told you to pick up that lucky pen.)


il_570xN.494221209_pbw3There is nothing quite like beautiful stationary to get you excited about putting pen to perfect paper, especially if that paper is wonderfully illustrated.  Get in the mood to explore the realm of fantasy writing with this lovely stationary set that features all the whimsey of a magical faerie folk, and at just $15, you can travel to the other world without stopping at the ATM along the way.


5b0e7efffb47f77094df3370f872d59e.f4f4967b4463258f8415f3e665aa0ac6While there are journals of every shape and size, the Classic Travel Journal from Rouge Journals will make you feel like you have just stolen a magical adventuring book from Biblo Baggins library.  Whether you are stealing magical rings from wicked creatures or burgling the treasure hoard of a fearsome dragon, this leather bound journal will make sure that all of your adventures are kept safe there and back again.  (Also, for only $50, you will still have enough of that dwarf gold to buy a much bigger hobbit hole.


o-WHATWOULDJANEDO-570If you find yourself sitting along in your study, thinking about which suitor (if any) would be most socially acceptable for your polite if eccentric heroine should settle on, then this aptly titled book What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen is exactly what you need for your book shelves. “My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”


il_570xN.791965194_1bjcWriting is half inspiration, half coffee.  Satisfy both the cravings of your imagination and your body with this mug.  Whether it’s coffee, tea, or a delicious mug-brownie, grabbing a cup of inspiration will certainly make the difference between thinking about finishing that last chapter and actually doing it.


il_570xN.682157818_o70qFor most writers, where they do their writing is just as important as what they’re writing about.  Having a comfortable, ‘noise free’ space allows you to focus more on the page and less on the piles of excuses sitting on your desk (and probably also your floor).  Removing these distractions with something like this lovely, literary inspired piece will make sure you hit those daily word counts.

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The Central Pen Staff

[Images from featured vendor’s websites.]

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