creative writing

Poets Out Loud: Carl Phillips, Lisa Sewell, and the Future of Poetry

The first Poets Out Loud reading of the new academic year took place on Tuesday, September 29th. Students, faculty, and members of the high school outreach program gathered in the 12th floor lounge to hear renowned poets, Carl Phillips and Lisa Sewell, read their work. Heather Dubrow’s enthusiastic introduction immediately established a warm and welcoming atmosphere that lingered throughout.

Reading from his new book, Reconnaissance, Carl Phillips spoke in a voice not unlike his poems: soft, compelling, almost dreamlike. The thirteen poems he read touched on myth, on love beginning and ending, on desire and dreams. He filled the pauses between poems with brief, often humorous commentary, such as when he referred to the title of his poem, “Meanwhile and Anyway,” as “the sign of someone struggling with a title.” Recalling that his students often ask how he knows a poem is done, he said, “I think you just know, or I do.” When he finished reading “At Bay,” a poem composed entirely in one sentence, he said he recommends this practice to his students. “Try it. It’s free. And it’s safe.”

Lisa Sewell introduced her latest volume, Impossible Object as a “loose project” wherein each poem was inspired by, and sometimes named for, another book. In a time when more and more people are reading electronically, Sewell chose to emphasize the idea of books as physical objects with a unique ability to transform. Whether recalling her 17-year-old-self reading Virginia Woolf in the poem titled "To the Lighthouse," the aftermath of her father’s death in another titled "King Lear," or the destruction wrought by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in “A Narrow Road,” Sewell’s work examined the intense, “seemingly physical” effect books have on our lives and on the world. A PowerPoint presentation accompanied her reading, displaying illustrations, book covers, and in a segment inspired by the Japanese presentation form PechaKucha, a series of 20 photographs.   

Attendees were encouraged to evaluate the event on a notepad that made several rounds through the audience. One teacher wrote, "This is a wonderful event. It's a treat to bring students for a meeting with the poets." Fordham student, Hend Saad, wrote, "It was very interesting to see how listening to a poem gives it a whole other dimension that is not evident if one merely reads a poem." 

A Q&A followed the reading, and both poets answered questions about how the Internet has affected poetry. Phillips recounted his experiences with Twitter, praising it for helping him discover new poets and literary journals he might not know otherwise. Sewell noted that the Internet has made exciting new forms of poetry, like Flarf, possible, while hypertext continues to revolutionize how people create and study literature.  

When answering a question about whether innovation is still possible in poetry, Phillips and Sewell agreed that innovation is always possible as long as people keep writing. Traditional forms will probably survive, but they might change and transform. “Do variations,” Phillips said. “Create a form, and justify why this form is necessary.” Again, Twitter came up. After all, what is a 140 character limit, if not another restraint, like the kind sonnets are made of?

The next Poets Out Loud reading, featuring Jennifer Michael Hecht and Ron Wallace, will take place on Monday, October 19th at 7pm in Lowenstein's 12th Floor Lounge.  

- Erin Coughlin

April 28th: Creative Writing Prizes Reading

Fordham University's Creative Writing Program cordially invites you to celebrate the winners of the 2015 Creative Writing Prizes. 

On Tuesday, April 28 at 5:00 pm in the Lincoln Center 12th Floor Lounge, the Program will host the 2015 Creative Writing Prizes Reading. The following students will read their award-winning work:

Academy of American Poets Prize
Anna Marie Anastasi, "3 Secrets"
Margaret Lamb/Writing to the Right-Hand Margin Prizes
Rachel Federman, "The Parts I Don't Believe"
Thomas Layman, "Almost Three"
Michael Grund, "Exponential Growth"
Mary Kate Crenny, "His Eyes Won't Be Blue"
Ully Hirsch/Robert F. Nettleton Poetry Prizes
Wallis Monday, "Lonesome Years in the West"
Samantha Norman, "New West"
Bernice Kilduff White & John J. White Creative Writing Prize
Frank Sivilli, "South of the House"

The Reid Family Prize
Patrick Skea, "Stateside"

Spring 2015 Prose Reading: A Celebration of Fordham's Literary Magazines

On Wednesday, February 11th, students met in the 12th Floor Lounge at Lincoln Center to learn about Fordham's literary magazines. The event, hosted by the Creative Writing Program, showcased the vibrant literary community at Fordham.

Student editors from the Ampersand, Bricolage, The Comma, and CURA tabled with copies of their respective publications and spoke with students about how they could get involved.

Just because you missed the event doesn't mean you need to miss out on the opportunity to work with these amazing publications. Here's some information on how you can get involved.

1. the Ampersand

The Ampersand is Rose Hill's student-run literary magazine. Published twice annually (once in the fall, once in the spring), the magazine accepts poetry, prose, short stories, and photographs/artwork for publication from students at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. See the Ampersand's submission guidelines here.

Join the Ampersand on Facebook and on Twitter at @fuampersand. The Ampersand can be reached at

2. Bricolage

Bricolage is a student-run journal of Comparative Literature that publishes both critical and creative writing in multiple languages –– the only Fordham University journal to do so. It also publishes photography and art. Members of the editorial board have control over both the structure and the content of the journal. Bricolage is currently accepting submissions (students from Lincoln Center and Rose Hill are both welcome) to four prompts listed on their website.

You can reach Bricolage  at and join them on Twitter at @BricolageTweets.

3. The Comma

Based in Lincoln Center, The Comma meets Mondays at 5:30 p.m. in LL 924 (unless otherwise specified on social media). The Comma is student-run, and workshops every other Monday and does writing exercises on the days they do not workshop.  The Comma is published in The Observer twice a semester and they publish the Creative Writing Awards in the spring.  The Comma also has two readings per semester.  Prose, poetry, and visual art submissions are accepted from undergraduates from either campus. The Comma's next submission deadline is March 13th and their next reading is on March 31st at 7:30 p.m. in LL 924.

You can reach The Comma at and join them on Facebook and on Twitter at @ObserverComma.

4. CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action

CURA is Fordham's preeminent professional literary magazine, focusing on the integration of the arts and social justice. Drawing submissions ranging from France to India, CURA offers students the outstanding opportunity to become involved in a professional publication. 

You can reach CURA at and join the magazine on Facebook and on Twitter at @CURAmag.