It’s All About Community

Yesterday, I took part of a panel discussion at the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre in celebration of National Poetry Month. I could talk for hours and hours about my relationships with poetry and why I love the genre, but that’s not why I enjoyed this event. I liked it because I looked out and saw young people in the audience, including one high schooler with a stack of books, and an elementary student. Both have an interest in writing, and they were wide-eyed and on the edge of their seats while we talked about the writing process and our key influences.

After the event, I thought about how lucky I am to live in an area that has events like this. Throughout April, Osterhout is running a series of free poetry workshops. The library has also held various poetry and prose readings, and it publishes a literary magazine, Word Fountain. A few blocks down from the library, there is a reading series the third Friday of every month at ArtSEEN Gallery in Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton includes the Prose in Pubs series and the New Visions series. As I chatted with the two young members of the audience yesterday, I thought about how important community is to writing, how we need mentors and friends involved in the writing process because no one outside of such a community cares that we write.

Students in one of my creative writing classes this semester understand the importance of community, since they decided to create a writing workshop outside of class. I’m also starting to see more and more students at various literary events in the community. That’s what it’s all about, supporting each other, guiding each other, and forming something bigger than one’s own writing.

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About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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5 Responses to It’s All About Community

  1. jessmeoni says:

    That’s great, Brian. I get the same way wen I think about all the young people that still make zines. It’s great to know that there’s still such a giant writing movement either though poetry or prose. Scranton’s area, to me, is still blossoming in terms of art and culture. I think our roots are still growing but it’s a beautiful and surprising process.

    By chance, are you going to the “What’s the Big Idea?” Event at the Radisson’s new Platform Launge tomorrow night? Maureen & Conor McGuigan are hosting it and it’s free to get into. There’s a cash bar and appetizers. They’ll be discussing on how we can bring more arts and culture into the area. It’s from 5:30-8:00pm. I’ll be there 🙂

  2. Thanks, Brian. This is a great post and I’m glad it brought out people of all ages. The writing community is so important!

  3. An encouraging read. I’m a bit more than an hour away. Wish I could have been there.

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