Tom Williams Reading Tonight

Tonight our reading series will come to a close with a final reading by Tom Williams. Williams is the author of The Mimic’s Own Voice, Don’t Start Me Talkin’, and Among the Wild Mulattos and Other Tales, which was released in July of last year. An associate editor of the American Book Review, Williams also chairs the English Department at Morehead State University in Kentucky.



Aryn Kyle Reading Tonight


Join us tonight for a reading by Aryn Kyle, an award-winning novelist and short fiction writer. Kyle is the author of The God of Animals, an international best-selling novel. Her latest work, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, is a short story collection consisting of eleven stories, most of which center around female protagonists. Kyle is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Award as well as a National Magazine Award in fiction.

Charlotte Holmes Reading Tonight


Our very own Charlotte Holmes will be kicking off our Mary E. Rolling Series this semester tonight at 7:30 in Foster Auditorium. She will be reading from her brand new book of short stories, The Grass Labyrinth. Holmes is the director of the Creative Writing Program here at Penn State, as well as a professor of Women’s Studies and Creative Writing. She has won several awards for teaching, including the George Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Grass Labyrinth is her second collection of short stories, in addition to Gifts and Other Stories.

Merrill Gilfillan Reading

IMG_4021The Mary E. Rolling series finished up the semester with a reading from Merrill Gillfillan, author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. He read first from what he described as the “sometimes-slippery realm of non-fiction,” explaining “much fiction can be elbowed into non-fiction, and much non-fiction is elbowed into fiction… they are two prongs from the same root.” His first example of this genre was his story The Musselshell & South, which is set in Northern Montana. He then moved east towards the Appalachians with Burn House to Paw Paw.  His next reading he described as his “native Ohio,” a piece called The Warbler Road, followed by the poems, The Serpent and Spanish for Vanish.


Vijay Seshadri Reading

IMG_3987Our Emily Dickinson lecturer, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, gave a reading last Thursday. Students and faculty filled every seat in Foster Auditorium, and still more stood in the back as Julia Kasdorf introduced Seshadri, describing his work as “imaginatively and concretely expressing what it’s like to be alive.” She even shared her poetry students’ thoughts on his work, how he writes from “the point of view of a watcher among people.” Seshadri began his reading by joking, “since it’s almost Halloween, let’s start with death,” and read A Fable, a narrative poem from his second collection, A Long Meadow. He then read Trailing Clouds of Glory and Nursing Home, followed by a four-poem sequence of lyric poems inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Hell, Purgatory: The Film, Purgatory: The Sequel, and Heaven. Afterwards, he continued his reading with a ‘poem of the moment’ called This Morning, then Guide for the Perplexed, Bright Copper Kettles, Thought Problem, and Knowing. His final poem of the night was Light Verse, a poem he wrote for the New York Times to mark the end of daylight savings time.

Elizabeth Benedict Reading


Our Mary E. Rolling Reading Series kicked off on Thursday with a reading by Elizabeth Benedict. Benedict is the author of several books, including The Beginner’s Book of Dreams, Almost, and The Joy of Writing Sex. Her latest book, Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession will be released on on September 29, 2015.

Benedict opened with the first chapter of her book The Beginner’s Book of Dreams, followed by her essay, What We Talk About When We Talk About Money, which appears in the 50th anniversary issue of Salmagundi. Her final reading was from her latest work,  Me, My Hair and I.


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