Professor Gadsden’s African American Storytellers Fest Brings History and Culture to the City of Harrisburg

By Norman Geary

On Sunday, October 16, the Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers’ Wordshop had an African American Storytellers Festival at the State Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  This event was co-sponsored by Jump Street, Life Esteem Inc., Community Art Publishers, PA Council of the Arts, and Imani African Christian Church.

Nathaniel Gadsden's Writers Wordshop is the longest running poetry venue in Harrisburg. It meets on Fridays at 7 at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop is the longest running poetry venue in Harrisburg. It meets on Fridays at 7 at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Dr. Nathaniel Gadsden, a professor of African American History at Central Penn College and the founder of the Writer’s Wordshop, hosted the event which featured many prominent artists and speakers including:  professional storyteller Denise Valentine, actress and author Lynn Blackston, professor and writer Ron Kipling, and performance poets Terri A. Durden and Carla Christopher.

The main focus of Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop is to provide a platform for poets and spoken word artists to perform and to get published.   The festival is just one of the many cultural family events held by Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers’ Wordshop at the State Museum throughout the year.  The Writers’ Wordshop gets creative individuals involved by giving them exposure while educating the audience about African American history, which includes a number of social topics affecting the African American culture as a whole.

The Wordshop helps performers, writers and poets find their voice and gain confidence to promote publication of their works.  Students of the Wordshop have become known for their works and are often looked upon and asked to perform and participate in events throughout the region.

Terri A. Durden, Founder/CEO of Community-4-Change, Inc. says, “I’ve been writing since 8th grade.  I started writing little love letters to my boyfriend…  I would take songs and blend them together and make a poem until I learned to create my own poetry. “  Now Terri is an award winning poet with a book published, I Will Remember You and one coming out –  Words, Sounds, Echoing.

The Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop meets at The Midtown Scholar Book Store, 3rd & Verbeke Street, Harrisburg, PA 1st , 2nd and 4th Fridays from 7-9 p.m.  Each meeting features a performer and an open reading. They are free to the public.  Everyone is welcome to join the Writers Wordshop.

For more information contact: Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Gadsden at nathanielgadsden@centralpenn.edu or 717-608-2312.


Norman Geary is a Corporate Communications major at Central Penn College, a member of the Media Club, and a regular contributor to The Knightly News.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Events, Poetry

Knight Writers and Library Staff Bring Hogwartz to Central Penn College

On Saturday, October 22nd from 10 AM to 2 PM, join the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club and the library staff for a magical day of Harry Potter themed games and activities. Visitors of all ages can climb through a giant spider web, meet a fortune teller or get “beanboozled” by some “every flavor” jelly beans. There will be fun activities for all ages in the library, which will be transformed into Hogwartz School of Wizardry for Fall Harvest.

“I thought Harry Potter was a fun literary way to celebrate the season with students, alumni and families that visit for Fall Harvest,” says Maria Thiaw, advisor of the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club.

Knight Writers helped decorate, make invitations and even created a game similar to PokemonGo for guests that arrive prepared with a smartphone. Expect a magical time! The event will be held from 10AM to 2PM in the Charles T. Jones Library at Central Penn College on Saturday, October 22nd. It is free and open to the public. You are encouraged to bring your Smartphone but remember – first years are not allowed to bring their own broom!  See you at Fall Harvest!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

It’s Dictionary Day!

Snip20140915_1Let me guess, you didn’t know that today, October 16th, is the day where avid dictionary-lovers cling to their dusty tomes and reminiscence about the days when students were taught how to decipher the pronunciation key and how to use catchwords as the ‘quick search’ feature before there were such things a ‘quick search’ features.  But don’t worry!  You don’t have to be a lexicographer to enjoy today.

noahDictionary Day shares its day with one of the celebrities of the dictionary world (the word celebrity, of course, is always relative: look it up!): Noah Webster, a man largely responsible for causing fights between family members when playing Scrabble (“What do you mean hollar isn’t in the dictionary?  It’s a word.  Like down in the hollar!”).

441820You probably don’t remember the days before Google or Dictionary.com when if you wanted to know how to spell something or needed to find its definition that you had to lug out the big red book with Merriam-Webster emblazoned in gold on the cover like the seal of some secret society whose sole mission was to protect words from an oncoming apocalypse where only cockroaches and antiquated words hither swithly avaunt into the sunset.

So, why should we continue to celebrate a piece of writing that is more likely to be used as a doorstop rather than be read?  Because, like most things, it’s not about the packaging: it’s about the contents.  Words!  Beautiful amazing words.  Webster devoted his entire professional career so that you could call your favorite professor’s voice sonorous; your least favorite cafeteria item odious; and the odd day when you get out of class five minutes early exhilarating.

And digital dictionaries have actually brought more people to these words than the printed loadstones that Webster had to work with.  You can now get a ‘word of the day‘ that will tell you divarication means on one day and flapdoodle means the next.  There are even ‘word of the day’ apps that will send fantastic words to your phone, so you can impress everyone you know by correctly using indemnify in a sentence.


Flapdoodle


There are no rules for celebrating Dictionary Day (none that I could find at least in my albeit very cursory internet search), and rather than tell you all to pick up your dictionary and start with aardvark, I would encourage you to find a couple of new favorite words and use them liberally: lascivious, masticate, garrulous, bellicose, egalitariancaveat.

So go on and engage in some word play!

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Holidays

Submit a Poem by November 1!

Would you like a vibrant young audience to read your work? Then it’s time for you to submit a poem to the Poem for Your Pocket project! If you would like to submit a poem, send it in an email to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu with the subject line: Poem For Your Pocket. The deadline is November 1.
 
The Poem for Your PocKnight Writersket project is a collection of poetry written by students, faculty, staff and friends of Central Penn College. Published authors like Shaashawn Dial-Snowden and Maria James-Thiaw as well as student authors like past KW president Greg Jones have poems in the mix. This virtual poetry chapbook is a great way to have your work read by young readers while helping out student writers. Instead of a traditional chapbook with pages, ours is a gumball machine that is out at campus events like Fall Harvest and the annual Poetry Slam. Patrons pay 25 cents for a bit of your inspiration and a ring!
 
Make your poetry the prize! Submit a poem to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu today! For more information, contact Professor Maria Thiaw, 717-728-2524.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

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.

Leave a Comment

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

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

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

– – –

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

~ Acquisitions Team

Submission Flyer

Leave a Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

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!

1 Comment

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!


 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Events

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!

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Poetry, The Writing Life