The St. Joseph’s University Writing Series Continues…

…with a visit from poet, professor, and punk rocker, Gerry LaFemina.












Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Foley Center

Please support the Writing Series!  It should be an entertaining evening.

Here is some information about Gerry from his website:

Gerry LaFemina believes poetry is the highest art form; believes everyone should rock out with a guitar at least once–even if they can’t play; believes teaching is a calling; believes the New York City subways are beautiful (even if they smell badly); believes in love, bigfoot and other mythic creatures; believes in the power of a good meal, a good night’s sleep, good wine, etc; believes laughter is a type of prayer….

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, LaFemina holds an MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University as well as an MA in Literature with an emphasis on Twentieth-century Literature from WMU. He has taught at Nazareth College, Kirtland Community College, West Virginia University, Wheeling Jesuit University and Sarah Lawrence College. He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, where he is an Associate Professor of English.

Gerry LaFemina’s poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, North American Review, among other journals, and in various anthologies including American Poetry: The Next Generation, and The Best of the Web 2013. His awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Bordighera Prize in Poetry, the Anthony Piccione/MAMMOTH Books Poetry Prize, an Irving Gilmore Emerging Artist Foundation Fellowship, and Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Fellowship.

Gerry LaFemina’s fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, American Fiction, Bellevue Literary Review and other literary journals. He received the North American International Auto Show award for the story “Proofreading America” and the Renaissance City Fiction Prize for “Consolation Prize.” He’s currently at work on a new novel and a new collection of stories.


Tips on Publishing Young Adult Fiction with Dr. April Linder – by John Rafferty

Photo courtesy of Chris Hensel

Photo courtesy of Chris Hensel













Dr. April Linder teaches writing at St. Joseph’s University and has recently published her third young adult novel, Love, Lucy. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Cincinnati, where she earned her Ph.D., she is also the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped and Skin.

With the current popularity of young adult novels, and so many looking to make their way into its world, she was kind enough to answer the following questions on how to turn a manuscript into a published work.

How did you come to write your first young adult novel, Jane?

I’ve always enjoyed literary retellings, and I’ve long played with the idea of possibly writing one myself.  In the years before I wrote Jane, there weren’t all that many retellings of my favorite novel, Jane Eyre, though now there seem to be hundreds! I’d played with the idea of writing one myself, but couldn’t come up with a way to handle the all-important barrier that stands between Jane and Mr. Rochester—the huge class difference that stands between them. Then one day it occurred to me that Mr. Rochester could be a celebrity, and Jane could be just an ordinary broke college girl.  From there it was just a small step to realizing Mr. Rochester could be a rock star.  At that point I knew I had to write that book—so I did.


Can you take us through the experience of getting that first young adult novel published?

For most of my career, I’ve been a poet, and getting my books of poetry into print has been an uphill battle. One very welcome thing about writing fiction is that it’s possible to get an agent to help you place your book. (There’s no money in poetry, so very few agents will represent poets.)  When I’d finished polishing up my manuscript for Jane, a friend introduced me to her agent who agreed to represent my book.  She submitted the manuscript to six presses and the fifth one took it.   If the process sounds relatively painless, it really isn’t, considering I had to hone my craft for about twenty years to get there.


In what ways has the process of publication for each subsequent novel differed, after obtaining that original publishing deal?

My second novel, Catherine, took a lot longer to write than Jane did, and the third novel, Love, Lucy, took even longer.  But by then I did already have an agent, and an editor who was willing to help me to whip those manuscripts into shape.  I’ve stuck with the same press for all three of my novels and I do love having an ongoing relationship with an agent, a press, and an editor.  There’s never a guarantee that a press will take the next book, but I’ve got book four in the works and I’m hoping.


Would you say young adult publishing is different from publishing other genres?

These are boom times for Young Adult books.  I can’t believe the number of YA that are published every year.  YA fiction has an avid readership of both teens and adults, and a really vibrant book blogging scene.  Otherwise, these are tough times in the publishing world, and it seems to be a lot harder these days to get into print as a writer of adult fiction, so I’m thankful to have stumbled into the YA universe.

By the way, I didn’t set out to write YA.  I thought I was writing Jane for an adult audience, but my brilliant agent recognized the book’s YA elements, so that’s the way she decided to sell it.


What is the most important thing one can do to break in to the young adult publishing world?

The most important thing any writer needs to do is read—widely and deeply—in your chosen genre/category and beyond.  And the other important thing a writer needs to do is keep writing, no matter what.  You have to be willing to be rejected—it happens to all writers, often repeatedly—and to keep sending your work out into the world.  The more you are rejected the more likely it is that you will someday be accepted, because rejection means you are sending your work out, so you’re already ahead of people who are too afraid to take the risk.  Be hard headed, keep learning and revising, and never stop trying.  Or, to steal the words of Bruce Springsteen, “Keep pushing till it’s understood and these badlands start treating you good.”

John Rafferty is a Masters student in the Writing Studies program at Saint Joseph’s University. His email:


Summer Course Offerings

As you may know, summer registration has begun!  Here is a description of the course offerings:

AimeeSummer I: May 18 – June 27, 2015

 ENG 646: Multimedia Storytelling (Area II) – hybrid class (half in person, half online)

 Taught by Aimee Knight 

 Hours: one night per week, 18:30-21:45


In this course we will explore digital stories in an era of media convergence. We will employ an audience-based, rhetorical approach to the critique and creation of original content for online communities. Throughout the course we will learn how image, text, and social media work together to create powerful narratives. By the end of the course students will publish non-fiction, multimedia stories to online platforms such as Medium, Cowbird, and Steller.

Goals and objectives:

  • To examine the role of multimedia stories in an era of media convergence
  • To understand the rhetorical role of narrative, structure, image, and audience

engagement in digital environments

  • To produce engaging digital narratives by combining image, text, and social


Required Texts

  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (2008) ISBN: 0316014990
  • The Unforgettable Photograph: 228 Ideas, Tips, and Secrets for Taking the Best

Pictures of Your Life (2013) ISBN: 0761169237

  • Writer/designer: A guide to making multimodal projects. (2014) [Excerpts/


Summer II: June 29-August 8, 2015

ENG 668: Creative Nonfiction (Area III)

Instructor: TBD

Hours: twice a week, 18:30-21:45

In this workshop, we will read, dissect, discuss, and create works of creative nonfiction. We will learn to offer and accept criticism, to challenge our preconceptions of genre and style, and strengthen our chops as writers. To accomplish this, we will read and write and talk like crazy. We’ll analyze the work of published authors in the many subgenres of CNF. We will write our own pieces, and offer them up to the group for critique. I can’t imagine a better way to spend an evening.


Note:  original post classified ENG 668 as Area I.  My apologies for any confusion.

Do Not Forget to Apply for Graduation

CAS grad

Are you graduating in May? If so, please remember to apply for graduation by

April 1, 2015. Please click here to view the “Apply to Graduate” flyer.

Apply to graduate so that you may:

  • Receive your diploma;
  • Have your name published in the program;
  • Walk in the ceremony.

Apply for graduation by:

  • Logging on the Nest;
  • Clicking on the Classes and Registration tab.

Also, please remember to mark your calendar for the Graduation Salute.

  • The Salute will be taking place on March 18th and 19th from 11:30 am to 7:00 pm, 5th floor, McShain Hall.
  • There, you will be able to pick up your graduation gown. If you are unable to attend this year’s Salute, and you do not have a financial hold on your account, please pick up your cap and gown at your earliest convenience at the SJU bookstore beginning on March 26th.
  • Please click here to read more about the Graduation Salute.

If you have any questions, please email Retention and Student Success or call 610-660-1281.