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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Poet Jerry Wemple Reads his Newest Work at PennWest Cal

The Bloomsburg Professor Talks to Students About his Writing Process
Sarah Seader
Poetry Reading Event Flyer with Jerry Wemple

Accomplished author, poet, and English Professor Jerry Wemple finds teaching and writing to be “two sides of the same coin”.

Inside Eberly Hall 120 on April 3, Wemple found himself in front of a small crowd of PennWest California students with another gathering on Zoom, reciting his 2023 publication We Always Wondered What Became of You, a poetry collection published by Broadstone Books. This collection follows Wemple’s own personal history, as well as various poems about experiences only found when growing up in Wemple’s shoes.

The attentive crowd watched as the lively Wemple read aloud his own poems like Fisherman, GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), Spring in Autumn, and Ursa, receiving a light round of applause intermittently. After the 45-minute session wrapped up, Wemple took time to ask some of the students present about their own writing journeys. When asked how he got into writing, Wemple stated very simply that “writing and reading are interconnected. I read a lot.”

Wemple sat down for an interview prior to the event with this reporter, in which he expounded on this.

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“I almost always tell students who want to be writers to be good readers first,” he said. He later recalled his experience listening to Hernan Diaz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, talk at length to a large crowd. He did not talk about his own writing, Wemple remembers, but solely about the books he had read that year.

Wemple has been a professor at Bloomsburg University since 1999, and maintains that writing is his passion, but sees both of these things as interlocking parts. As he puts it, “I can’t imagine one without the other.”

“I really enjoy working with students, and the hard part of teaching for me is, you know, you don’t see what happens [to your students] ten or fifteen years down the road,” he said. “I’m always adjusting my teaching, I’m not a professor that teaches the same four books over and over. It keeps it fresh for me”.

Wemple gave a final insight into what it takes to educate others about writing.

“I think as a teacher of writing, you have to also be a practitioner,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be okay if I told you to write and I didn’t write anything myself”.

Associate professor of English, Brent House, says that this event has been in the planning process for months, and he is excited to finally bring his friend and colleague to campus. House called Wemple “an experienced educator and poet”, and hopes that students will take influence from him.

“I hope students will welcome the opportunity to experience literature directly from the author,” he said. “Perhaps coming to this reading will inspire students to write their own poetry”.

Students can purchase Wemple’s newest work at the following website:

WE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT BECAME OF YOU, poetry by Jerry Wemple — Broadstone Books

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About the Contributors
Andrew Havens
Andrew Havens, News/Reviews Editor
Andrew Havens is a staff writer for the CalTimes and a Junior Communications Studies major with a minor in Marketing. Being from right across the river in Brownsville, PA, Andrew knows and loves the local community, trying his hardest to show off the amazing people in his hometown as well as his university. Andrew is just starting to pick up real-world writing and marketing experience, interning for both and Heartland Fabrication over the summer, as a staff writer and marketing intern respectively. The research gathering process is his favorite part of the job, because: "if you've researched correctly, the story just falls together!" You can find Andrew all over campus: attending meetings with the Graphic Design Club, writing away furiously on his laptop, working up a sweat at the gym, or simply getting his favorite sushi from Umami. He is entering his second year writing for the CalTimes.
Sarah Seader
Sarah Seader, Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Seader is the Editor-in-Chief and a Staff Writer for the CalTimes and a Senior Honors Student at PennWest California, pursuing two degrees in Business Administration Management and Management Information Systems with a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship as well as a Data Science Certificate. Sarah serves as the PennWest California Student Trustee.

Sarah is involved serving as the President of the SAI Board of Directors, President of DECA, President of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), Student Government Executive Board serving as Vice President, Vice President of Finance Club, Accounting Club Treasurer, and serves as the Treasurer on the Student Honors Advisory Board (SHAB).

Sarah is also a member of Women United, CUTV, WCAL, New Life, STAND, American Sign Language (ASL) Club, American Marketing Association (AMA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Student Activities Board (SAB), Vulcan Gaming Club, President's Leadership Academy (PLA), The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), and serves as a Peer Mentor and Honors Coach.

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