Le Moyne announces its first Writers-in-Residence

Aubrey Zych, Staff Writer


Professors of creative writing, Linda Pennisi and Patrick Lawler, have been named the very first Writers-in-Residence within Le Moyne College’s creative writing program.

These positions were awarded to writers with extensive teaching experience, significant publications and connections with publishing venues and fine arts graduate programs.

Pennisi, Le Moyne College class of 1992, brings 14 years of teaching experience at Le Moyne to her new position. During her time here, she has served as a visiting assistant professor and as the director of the creative writing program. She teaches the creative writing workshops, advanced poetry workshops and a service-learning course called “Writing into the World,” where her students work with senior citizens.

Pennisi has also published two poetry collections, “Suddenly, Fruit” and “Seamless,” as well as various literary journals, such as Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner and The Spoon River Poetry Review.

Her writing has received attention and praise amongst readers and critics, landing her various awards, such as the 2002 Perugia Press Intro Prize, the 2005 Carolina Wren Press Prize, a Saltonstall Individual Artist Grant, and the Le Moyne College Part-time Teacher of the Year Award in 2007.

Lawler, Le Moyne College class of 1976, has been working with young creative writers for 36 years, having served as the associate professor and director of the writing program at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an adjunct professor at Le Moyne since 1976.

While at Le Moyne, Lawler has published four books: “A Drowning Man is Never Tall Enough,” “Reading a Burning Book,” “Feeding the Fear of the Earth” and “Under Ground.”

Lawler has his fifth book, “The Meaning of If,” underway for publishing in 2014.

Lawler has also made a name for himself in poetry and fiction writing, with his work appearing in numerous literary journals, such as The Bitter Oleander, DoubleTake, Harpur Palate and The Minnesota Review.

Like Pennisi, Lawler has stacked up numerous awards for his work, including the New York State Foundation for Arts Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Pennisi and Lawler agreed that the new positions will make a significant impact on the college’s creative writing program.

“It really shows the college’s commitment to the English program,” Pennisi stated. “This position will allow us to expand and enhance the opportunities for our writing students.”

With these new positions, Pennisi and Lawler will undertake numerous new responsibilities, including: mentoring students looking to earn an honors degrees in creative writing, advising students who plan to apply to graduate programs, advising students who wish to have their works published, collaborating with the director of the creative writing program on program development and outcomes assessment, administering honors degree exams and evaluations, organizing readings at the College and advancing the English department’s plans for the future.

“If anyone in the English Department deserves this, it’s them,” Suntrana Allen, a senior creative-writing student said. “They both do such a good job of encouraging students to not be afraid of writing and embracing their own creativity. They’ll do great things with this position.”

Excited for the new position, Lawler and Pennisi both agreed they can’t wait to begin helping students and take on their new responsibilities full-force.

“Ultimately, my students are the ones who inspire my work,” Lawler stated. “I’m excited about giving that energy back to them and helping them find their own successes.”

“The position really isn’t about us; it’s about us helping the students,” Pennisi added. “And I couldn’t be more excited for that.”