Thirteen students from the Creative Writing program at Bloomsburg University milled about the ballroom in The Moose Exchange in downtown Bloomsburg on Wednesday March 13, 2013. They talked amongst themselves and to professors and friends while eating pizza and drinking Pepsi. Jerry Wemple, professor of English and Creative Writing at Bloomsburg, made his way up to the wooden podium on the small black stage and looked out over the crowd. A mic check and one little mic squeal later, Wemple invited everyone to take their seats in the folding chairs set up in a semicircle around the stage.
He invited the first student, Gabe Campbell, up to the stage, who was greeted with applause and cheers from his fellow students. This set the tone for the rest of the evening. The students cheered each other on as they read some of their best poems and excerpts from longer pieces they had written.
This event, the first of its kind for the Creative Writing Department, is a new requirement for majors and minors. “It’s a hard thing to do,” Wemple said of reading one’s own work to an audience. “But I think tonight went very well.”
For many of the students, it was their first time reading their work aloud in such a setting. Kelly Steiner, a Creative Writing major, was nervous but had no trouble delivering her piece, an excerpt from a story that was filled with equal parts humor and wisdom. “Life rarely takes the road first thought of,” she read to the audience.
It is safe to say, that all the students in the Creative Writing Program at Bloomsburg University possess some real talent for writing. Hearing their works read aloud made for an entertaining evening, and this new requirement will add a useful but challenging aspect to the Creative Writing major and minor.