Joint poetry and fiction reading by English professors highlights creative talents

Charles Beers, News Editor

The Stadler Center for Poetry hosted a faculty poetry and fiction reading on March 28, highlighting the creative talents of two University creative writing professors: Visiting Assistant Professor of English Katie Hays and Assistant Professor of English Joe Scapellato. Students and faculty gathered in Bucknell Hall at 7 p.m. to hear poems and passages from their newly published books.

Hays read from her third book of poems, titled “Windthrow” (2017). Before the reading, Hays was introduced by her colleagues. Hays earned her M.F.A. in the literary arts at Brown University, and is the author of two other poetry collections: “Dear Apocalypse” (2009) and “Early Creatures, Native Gods” (2012). Hays also plays an integral role in the creative writing community at the University, serving as the director of the Seminar for Undergraduate Poets and, for the 2016-17 term, the acting director of the Stadler Center for Poetry.

Hays’ poems drew incredible applause from the crowd. Zander Perelman ’19, one of Hays’ students, was impressed by her work and presentation.

“It was really inspiring and impactful to see one of my own professors read her poetry out loud,” Perelman said. “It is clear from class that she is very knowledgeable and helpful, but hearing her work was really incredible.”

Scapellato shared excerpts from his book, titled “Big Lonesome” (2017). This publication is Scapellato’s debut short story collection. Scapellato was introduced by Associate Professor of English Robert Rosenberg, who described Scapellato’s ascendance as a breakout storyteller. Scapellato’s first novel, “The Made-Up Man,” will be published in the spring.

When asked about the event, Scapellato expressed his admiration for Hays’ work as well as his excitement at seeing so many familiar faces in the audience.

“It was such an honor and a joy to share the stage with Katie Hays, an incredible poet, teacher, and person. Her work is magic. And to look out at the audience, to see so many people I respect and admire—I’m so grateful,” Scapellato said.

The event received positive reviews from both students and faculty alike. The aspiring English majors in attendance enjoyed hearing the stories out loud. Ryan House ’19 echoed this enthusiasm and explained how this new perspective allowed him to immerse himself in the stories being told.

“I love hearing professors read their own work,” House said. “There’s such a beautiful thing about hearing an author read their own writing to an audience. The experience of hearing rather than reading is a nice change of pace.”

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