Tag Archives: chester

Meet Local Writers: Dr. Kenneth Pobo

As part of a blog initiative started by this year’s FUSE conference on literary citizenship, The Blue Route is beginning a series of short author interviews with local writers. Our first interview begins as local as we can get, with Widener University’s own Dr. Pobo!

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Dr. Kenneth Pobo is not only an English and Creative Writing professor at Widener University—he’s our self-proclaimed poet-in-residence! After receiving his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Pobo taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville before joining the Widener faculty in 1987.

Throughout his career, Pobo has published more than 25 books of poetry and short fiction in addition to countless poems and flash fiction pieces in literary journals and magazines such as Indiana Review, Mudfish, The Cider Press Review, The Fiddlehead, and Hawaii Review. In 2008, Pobo published Glass Garden with Wordtech Press followed by When The Light Turns Green with West Chester: Spruce Alley Press in 2014, and Bend of Quiet with San Francisco: Spruce Alley Press in 2015. He is the winner of the 2009 Main Street Rag Poetry Chapbook Contest, the 2011 Qarrtsiluni Poetry Chapbook Contest, and the 2013 Eastern Point Press Chapbook Award for his manuscript Dust And Chrysanthemums from Grey Borders Press, and has a new book of ekphrastic poems coming out in 2017 called Loplop in a Red City, from Circling Rivers Press.

Though he is not fond of machines, Pobo notes that he usually writes on the computer, finding it enhances his process. Some subjects are often present: the garden, music, environmental and human rights issues, particularly LGBTQ rights, his past, and art. “Inspiration for me is getting my butt in the chair—something will happen. I rarely have writer’s block, unless I’m just too tired from the day to focus,” he said.

Currently, Dr. Pobo is working on a few manuscripts, one of which, Sore Points, began as an exercise in one of his creative writing classes. In addition, he is revising Loplop in a Red City. “It may be a common misconception that once a book is accepted, the revision process is over, [but] this is not the case,” Pobo said. “Often, the most demanding revision occurs after acceptance.”

To creative writers struggling to find their voice Dr. Pobo emphasizes the importance of reading. “READ,” Pobo said. “Read for improving your thinking process. Read writers who can be guides for your own work, but not only them.” He also urges “to keep writing and don’t get discouraged. Don’t let the voices that say ‘There are many writers who are much better than I am’ block you. You have observations and things that need to be said—and only you can say them.”

A perfect Sunday afternoon for Dr. Pobo involves getting muddy in the garden and topping it off with Widecast Internet music show, Obscure Oldies. His favorite song of all time is “12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)” by The Mamas & The Papas released in 1967, however, he recently bought Micheal Bublé’s Nobody But Me. Dr. Pobo is also a tie-dye enthusiast and on the matter says, “I love color and I want color to slide all over me. Clothes should dream in color. No more coffin-esque flat colors afraid of their own energy.”

Learn more about Dr. Pobo’s work on the Widener English blog.

Written by Emma Irving.

(Image courtesy of Painters and Poets)

Community Bridge Bridges Community

Lately, there’s been a huge push on our campus to connect the city of Chester and Widener University through art…we love it! Staff member Kelsey Styles tells more about the latest of such events, Boundaries and Bridges, which seeks to both strengthen the art and cultural presence in the city, as well as connect the university to the city.

On November 13, students, faculty, and professors of Widener University meshed with members of the community on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge as part of the much larger Boundaries and Bridges project.

John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls' promotional Boundaries and Bridges video.

John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls’ promotional Boundaries and Bridges video.

The hum of engines pulsed in the background, but that did little to deter performers as they stood in front of Devon Walls’ camera and read their work or talked about their projects or sang songs inviting change. Some cars honked up at them, but that only encouraged the crowd. To Walls, a Chester artist, their noise promotes notice. It means people are wondering why so many individuals are hanging out over Interstate 95.

At the end of the event, attendees dance and have fun as part of a larger celebration.

At the end of the event, attendees dance and have fun as part of a larger celebration.

The Walnut Street Bridge doesn’t connect the communities between Widener and Chester—it separates them. The highway whirring underneath acts as a wall between one group and another. The goal of Boundaries and Bridges is to mend these two broken worlds through art, because art is the medium connecting all living things.

Artists collectively share canvases to create a joint masterpiece as a symbol of what the Boundaries and Bridges program aims to do.

Artists collectively share canvases to create a joint masterpiece as a symbol of what the Boundaries and Bridges program aims to do.

The program truly kicked off the Friday previous when an information session was held discussing what the program planned to do after it received a Catalyst Grant from the Barra Foundation, which “works to advance Greater Philadelphia’s culture of innovation.” The goal of Boundaries and Bridges is to both strengthen the art and cultural presence in the city, as well as connect the university to the city.

Blue Route staff member Kim Roberts takes her turn with a brush.

Blue Route staff member Kim Roberts takes her turn with a brush.

Widener students, children, and members of the community all worked to create a new piece of art.

Widener student, children, and members of the community all worked to create a new piece of art.

To find out more, like the Boundaries and Bridges page on Facebook, or visit The Artists Warehouse on 515 Avenue of the States in Chester. It’s time to move with the movement, cross that boundary, and build a bridge. What is your university doing to spread the arts around your community? Comment and let us know!

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By Kelsey Styles ’17, originally published on The Blue&Gold