Category Archives: Fiction

Global Arts Movement Comes to CPC

 yuli-16On Thursday, September 14th, 2017, the Knight Writers, Central Penn College’s creative writing club, will host its 2nd arts showcase, this time joining the massive global movement – 100 Thousand Poets for Change. The theme for this year’s event is “Resist Hate,” a timely call as the country finds itself in turmoil and political strife. The showcase will be held in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on the Summerdale campus from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

         “We wanted to pick something that embodied a message that is against discrimination of people, no matter who they are,” says Knight Writers president, Dani Payton, an actress and writer who’s performance poetry wowed audience members at the last Central Penn College poetry slam. “Our members are made up of people of different races, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds. But we share an art form (writing) that we can use to speak out against bigotry.”

Refreshments, poetry books and other items will be available for purchase, but the event is free and open to the public. Performers will be student, staff and faculty poets, story tellers, musicians and local author, Julia Mallory.BigRobSaidWhaaa

“Since her days hosting Poetry for the People in Harrisburg, Julia Mallory has proven herself a fierce voice for change,” says professor and poet Maria Thiaw. “Her work touches on issues of culture, society, mental health stigma and other concerns that effect people every day. She’s a great choice for this year’s event.”

Julia 100 Thousand Poets For Change ( describes itself as “a grassroots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social, and political change within the framework of peace and sustainability.” By affiliating with 100TPC the Knight Writers’ showcase will make history as part of the world’s largest poetry reading.  Stanford University will archive all video and photos from the event as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

“Peace and sustainability are major concerns worldwide, and the guiding principles for this global event,” said Michael Rothenberg, Co-Founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. “We are in a world where it isn’t just one issue that needs to be addressed. A common ground is built through this global compilation of local stories, which is how we create a true narrative for discourse to inform the future.”

The Resist Hate: 100 Thousand Poets for Change event will feature performances from Knight Writers including Dani Peyton, Teta Gaye, Yuliani Sutedjo  and other student poets and story tellers. It’s not too late to sign up to read a poem, tell a story or display another talent at this event. To get involved contact professor Maria Thiaw by Monday, September 11th at



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One of those Days

a poem by Mary Weingartener


like the rolling clouds and ominous fog that surrounded

the old ramshackle barn as I walked to class and started my day.


A whole, well-maintained picture to an outsider, but slightly

amiss to those who are curious enough to dare take a second look.


as the old stone layered exterior

deterring others from getting too close.


like the stand-alone building,

not comparable to others, for I know my own worth.


Like the trees to the barn,

never a moment alone.


Much as the broken siding and crumbling foundation,

a small piece of me breaks a little more every day.


like the wind blowing swiftly around each new obstacle along its path

taking note of those who have walked the journey beside me, unforgivingly.


when the sun slowly rises, shedding light across the darkness of the woods

that tomorrow will not be

One of those days.

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Art and Activism Collide – a submission from Kellyn Ishman

Corporate Communication major, Kellyn Ishman, expresses her culture and values with images of freedom fighters in this original drawing she created in 2016. It is very timely considering today’s political climate and the tremendous success of the Women’s Marches earlier this month. The word “coexist” is spelled out in religious symbols, reminding us of our oneness, regardless of differences. Feminist leader Gloria Steinem and Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. are also celebrated in this drawing, which empowers us to speak our minds. Thank you for this timely and powerful submission, Kellyn!

American Culture Sketch_Ishman_Week 2

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The ADHD Brain and Listening Skills

By Jadon Buser

Reading or reciting your own creative work in public can be a daunting task when you first start out, especially if you’re audience doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to you. Adding vocal variety, keeping it brief and finding other ways to engage your audience can change your poetry reading into a powerful poetic performance. In this essay, Allied Health major Jadon Buser explains the art of listening with ADHD. ~ Prof. Maria Thiaw

jadon1-2Reflecting on my own listening skills, I like to think I do better than the average ADHD student. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While everyone with ADHD is different, three major areas can be affected: Impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. These definitely get in the way when trying to be a good listener, however, I believe that my ADHD has actually assisted my information processing skills. Since I am unable to hold constant attention or retain much information, I have adapted certain coping mechanisms to compensate and my skills in organizing and filtering relevant information have improved.

With greater awareness of my “listener’s curve” during a presentation, I have conditioned myself to perk at attention to the subtler pauses and tonality changes that indicate that a person is moving on to the next point of their presentation. After I feel that I have processed the necessary information for that point, and the speaker begins to add a story of their own to demonstrate their point or give other supplemental information, I’ll typically “clock out” for the remainder of that point discussion, in order to conserve enough “attentive energy” – so to speak – to fully process the next point made.

This method is not as effective, however, when instructions are being given or when a long list of important details are being explained. That is when I have the most trouble retaining information, and effective note-taking becomes an absolute must.

Our culture seems to be built to exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, and I can immediately think of 3 ways that it does so:

  • Interruptive dialogue,
  • televised media, and
  • social media.

Interruptive dialogue is the norm of socializing in the United States. More often than not, socializing (not public speaking) typically can be broken down to one person making a statement, then the rest of the members of that conversation race to see who can give their response first or start a new topic first. This reduces listening ability because, in order to be the fastest, one must stop listening and be prepared to interject at a moment’s pause. Waiting till a person finishes their subject completely not only shows respect, but you may learn something from them that you wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

Televised media also discourages listening ability through its ADHD-like speed and rate of subject changes. If you ever pay close attention to the shows and commercials you watch, the speed at which they speak and introduce new ideas is faster and more intense than what the average person CAN speak, which turns your brain onto overdrive in order to keep up with it all. (Ever notice how you typically feel revved up rather than relaxed after watching TV, and that it can be harder to fall asleep right after a show?) The only solution to this that I know of is simply to reduce the amount of television that you watch, so that you can save your mental energy for more important things.

Social media is the last culprit that I’ll mention, and it may not be in the way that you think. While social media has done a great job of ruining dinner conversations and making speakers feel irrelevant, the core issue is the exacerbation of ADHD-like symptoms through overstimulation of the brain. If you look at social media – let’s say Facebook – you scroll through a wall of short, provocative statements that are all made to grab your attention. It’s no wonder that we subconsciously go to social media on our phones whenever we’re not being stimulated by our surroundings. The simple solution here – give Facebook a rest, because in reality you know that, in the last 30 seconds, you really haven’t missed anything.

Hope my spiel on listening skills from the mind of an ADHD college student gave you some food for thought!



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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!

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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 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.


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!

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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 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 today! For more information, contact Professor Maria Thiaw, 717-728-2524.

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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 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: 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

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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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