Literary Themed Fun Facts

  • Fahrenheit 451 was originally supposed to be titled The Fireman
  • Charles Dickens was a firm believer of the supernatural and was even a part of a Ghost Club. He was also known to sleep facing North as he believed it would improve his writing.  
  • The world’s most avid readers come from India, which has an average reading time of 10.7 hours a week. 
  • In the Victor Hugo novel Les Miserables, there is a sentence that is 823 words long. This is the longest sentence written in a published novel to date.  
  • Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has been banned in China since 1931 because the governor of the Hunan Province believed that allowing both animals and humans the ability to speak was “disastrous.”  
  • The first public library opened in America was located in Charleston, South Carolina in 1698.  
  • Some of the strangest objects found inside library or secondhand books include a butterfly, lizard, polaroid picture of fried eggs, matches (hidden in the book by removing several pages), and spectacles from approximately 1930.  

Blue Route Call for Art!

Though the deadline has passed for poetry and prose submissions, the Blue Route is still seeking art submissions for our 28th issue! We welcome works of any medium from all undergraduate students so long as they can be converted into a digital format for publication. In the past, we have incorporated gorgeous photographs, paintings, sketches, and digital art among many others into our issues. There is no theme for this issue, so the sky’s the limit! If you or someone you know creates art and is interested in publication, please feel free to submit any and all pieces to us at! Thank you and we cannot wait to see what you come up with!

REMINDER: Submission Deadline is November 15

JUST A REMINDER: The Blue Route will be accepting submissions until November 15. If you are an undergraduate student, we encourage you to submit you poetry, prose, or art. For more information, please see our submission guidelines. We look forward to seeing your work!

Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors Conference

Widener University is hosting this year’s Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) conference on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5. The conference is virtual this year and will feature undergraduate student panelists from PA to CA. There will also be a panel of FUSE alumni, an open mic, and a 24-hour literary magazine challenge.

If you work on undergraduate publications at your school, you’ll want to make plans to Zoom in. The conference is quite affordable. Institutional membership in FUSE for 2022-2023 costs only $50.00 and grants unlimited access for students, faculty, and staff to FUSE 2022. The fee for individual attendees is only 25.00. For the conference schedule and registration information, check out the FUSE National website:

The Blue Route editors will be there. Hope to see you as well!

Dissociation in “Some Spring Girls do Die” from Love and War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez 

By Gabby Norris

“Her steps must’ve been light today. Death always seems to come heavy in the night, but it awoke her with a kiss this morning” (77). 

What struck me most about this quote, and this piece in general, is the switch between first and third person at the start of each new paragraph. Given the title and content of this work, the first thought that came to my mind was the concept of dissociation, where one experiences an out of body moment brought on by intense feelings of depression. In these moments of severe depression, the brain chooses to separate one from the body they are in in hopes of minimizing the trauma that they experience. The narrator in this story might feel like herself one moment, and then feel forced to refer to herself as “she” the next because she doesn’t even identify with the body she’s in.  

Another idea that entered my mind is the existence of another girl, as hinted at by the plural “girls” in the title. Perhaps the narrator’s story is being intertwined with that of another girl who has already chosen to end her life. In this reading, there is an eerie foreshadowing that follows the unidentified girl’s last day alive before committing suicide as we are also brought along on the narrator’s day, insinuating that is is also her last. Perhaps neither of these readings are correct and perhaps the truth is something else entirely. Rodriguez could very well be intending to leave it up to the best guess of each reader, allowing them to pick the version that best suits their interests. Either way, I think this is a fantastic piece that is a part of an even better collection that’s both truthful and entirely compelling.  

Issue 27 now live!

Announcing issue 27 of The Blue Route, featuring undergraduate writers from Bellevue College, Berea College, Boston University, Cal Poly SLO University, Central Michigan University, Pittsburg State University, and University of Mississippi. Read it now at Thanks to all contributors for sharing your work.

The Blue Route at AWP

Stefan Cozza


It’s a grey Wednesday afternoon in Philadelphia, and the city is roaring at its rambunctious state of equilibrium. To most, its business as usual with mobbed crosswalks and blaring car horns operating around the clock, but in one relatively small section of a tremendously large city, thousands of writers are gearing for Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP), one of the biggest events in the industry. 

I am one of those writers and for all the commotion that was about to ensue, the conference attendees felt oddly quiet. Maybe it’s because as writers, our voices ring loudest on the page, but there was a calmness that afternoon, and it really continued throughout the length of the conference.

​This was my thought process as I arrived and prepared for my first in-person AWP conference. The event was massive and packed an incredible amount of activity within the Philadelphia Convention Center. It was almost overwhelming trying to take in the plethora of events continuously running throughout the day, on top of the largest book fair I have ever seen and off-site readings. 

I did my best to prepare in advance for the event, and I planned which panelists and topics I was dead-set on attending, along with major publications I needed to see at the book-fair. I would recommend that anyone thinking of attending to do the same because there is just so much to explore. While it is difficult to pick just one favorite from the conference, I would have to say I enjoyed Toi Derricotte’s keynote presentation the best. Not only is the keynote speaker an event where the entire Widener group attends together, but it was such a joyous and inspiring night. Toi Derricotte is truly one of a kind. 

Despite being limited by the hours in the day, it was nice hearing from fellow Widener students and faculty about events they attended; everyone did their own thing, so it was great to hear what went on in events that I may have wanted to attend but didn’t get the time. 

Here are some reflections from a couple creative writing students on their time at the conference.  

Christina Giska 

“I visited the bookfair almost every day that I was there. At first. I walked back and forth without much of a plan, but I ultimately began talking to people at the tables. I thought it would be awkward, or the people would be overly eager to get me to sign up/pay for things, but it was actually a very enjoyable experience. I got to talk to people and learn about various presses and literary magazines. I also bought several books that I would not have known about otherwise. Some were even signed by the author. I will admit that I sometimes felt obligated to buy a book if the author was there and promoting it, which is an odd feeling that I had never really considered beforehand.”

Gabby Norris 

“The first in person session I attended was a Brevity journal reading by four authors who have had their nonfiction published there in the past. I think this might have been my favorite session of the entire conference because the pieces were incredibly moving and vastly different though they were all a part of the same genre. It gave me reassurance that nonfiction involving trauma does not automatically mean it is boring or cannot generate an audience, nor does every nonfiction piece sound the same. One of the panelists, Ira Sukrungruang, had been a visiting writer at Widener in the past and I was already a fan of his work going into AWP this year, so it was especially exciting to both see him and hear his work read. Interestingly, one of the panelists had studied under another, so that was quite inspiring to see a student and teacher succeeding side by side. Looking back at the notes I took during this session; I realize I wrote that nonfiction does not have to be limited to traumatic or otherwise negative events; nonfiction pieces can be about anything true such as vandalism of library books or reading someone else’s letter to a lover.”

Everyone in our group came away with something different from their time at the conference. Despite us all being there and experiencing the event together, everyone left with their own unique story to tell.

Book Review: How to Not Be Afraid Of Everything

By Stefan Cozza

It is a common misconception that because poetry is smaller in scale compared to a novel or series of essays, it is less grandiose in its vision or aspiration. As a poet, this is not only disheartening, but entirely untrue. Instead of debating the futility of this argument to a poetry skeptic, I would simply point them toward Jane Wong’s How To Not Be Afraid of Everything. Whatever expectations you have regarding poetry, throw them out the window. If someone has never read a poetry collection, I would absolutely recommend Wong’s collection as a gateway. Having no prior experience with Jane Wong, I had no expectations or reference bar for the work. I was going in with a completely blank slate and that lack of judgement profoundly heightened the experience.

The deeper I go into the poetry weeds; I find myself most attracted to poetry that oozes confidence and control. A confident poet can take the reader wherever they want them to go, however dark, chaotic, or messy it may be. No other poet has had the confidence to start a collection with a Mad-Lib. The first piece, “Mad” threw me so off guard that I had to prepare myself for the task of filling in the missing gaps. That choice to demand so much from the reader, right out the gate, is bold and alluring. If a reader did have expectations, they were dismantled immediately. What is even more captivating, is the fact that the poems feel complete, despite the blank spaces. Writing this, Wong was confident that the reader would subconsciously know the right answer. How to Not Be Afraid of Everything” is not only a brilliant poetry collection, but a social agreement with the author that we can be responsible and still live our truth.

The Exciting World of Travel Blogging 

By Keeley Duffy 

Whenever I tell people I am an English and Creative Writing major, they ask if I’m going to be a teacher. While teaching is a wonderful profession, it is not right for me. Usually, the next option for people with such a degree is an author, which is also a wonderful choice. But what about all of the other great job opportunities? Some alternative routes include journalism and ghostwriting. Journalism, of course, is all about the production and distribution of or reports on the news, sports, celebrities, fashion, facts, and ideas. Ghostwriting is for people who are not ready to put their names out to the public. You write about any kind of topic you like and then sell it to any company that needs it.  

But have you ever thought about travel blogging? Travel blogging involves going to all kinds of places and writing articles about your amazing adventures and experiences, and you don’t need someone to hire you for it! You can simply create your own website and travel to places you have always wanted to visit. Maybe you want to visit the Colosseum in Rome, or The Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. How this works is that you create your blog and use it as a resume. The more post you make the more people will see and review it. While you are working on your blog, you can work as a virtual assistant with other blogs to get experience. After you get into affiliate marketing and start placing your ads on websites, you can start selling your videos and even make videos about your adventures to generate income. If your blog ends up becoming successful, you can end up getting sponsored by brands and they could pay you to travel somewhere and blog about it. After you create a website and start writing and taking pictures of the sights you’ve seen, you can advertise your blog on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.  

Below are links to some travel blogs to see what yours could potentially look like:  

Aimee Nezhukumatathil Visits Widener

By Stefan Cozza

Widener University continually goes above and beyond for its students, particularly when it comes to providing students with an inside-look at the professional world side of what they are studying. Every year, The English and Creative Writing Department brings in a visiting writer to speak in classrooms, engage in tutorials with students, and put on a public performance to a larger audience. The honorary guest and speaker this semester was Aimee Nezhukumatathil, who is an accomplished author, poet, and literary editor, with four poetry collections, one chapbook, and a creative nonfiction collection to her name. Her most recent nonfiction collection, World of Wonders, was Barnes and Nobles’ 2020 book of the year, a New York Time’s Best-seller, and listed as a must read of 2020 by NPR. Embedded within her works is an innate connection to nature and the environment, which is one reason Aimee’s works speak so much to me. Her work is both deeply personal and incredibly relatable, always feeling so grounded. This semester, I had the pleasure of reading World of Wonders as well as the poetry collection, Oceanic. While two different genres, I was inspired and amazed at Nezhukumatathil’s attention to the context and background that surrounded every subject and idea covered. As a poet myself, I was exposed to entirely new poetic modes and forms that I have attempted to experiment with in my own poetry, including the “review” and “self-portrait” models. The former acts as a play on “yelp-style” poetry, and the other involves writing from the persona of a specific location or natural object. Aside from her own writing, Aimee is the poetry editor for Sierra, a magazine under the Sierra Club, and is a professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi. Apart from hearing Aimee speak and read her wonderful work aloud, I had the chance to participate in a one-on-one tutorial. I have met with a couple visiting writers in the past, but none of them were poets. I was so grateful that Aimee took the time out of her busy schedule to read and comment on my works, and I was beyond surprised to hear that she enjoyed my poems! It is such a validating feeling to have a writer applaud your work, especially if you are having trouble seeing the value in it. Aimee is such an inspiring and uplifting writer, and that attitude translates to her real-life persona. Whereas some writers will overly critique student work, Aimee was constructive while maintaining kindness and positivity. I cannot speak enough on how connected I feel with her work and how highly I view her as not only a writer, but an instructor.