Melanie Simms, a senior Creative Writing major, and Jerry Wemple, Professor of English, will help the central Susquehanna Valley kick off National Poetry Month with a reading at the Degenstein Community Library in Sunbury on April 2.
Simms, a Sunbury resident, will read her poem “Sunbury,” which highlights the history of the town located at the confluence of the North and West branches of the Susquehanna River. The poem was published in a recent issue of Susquehanna Life magazine. Simms also read it during an interview on WKOK, a regional radio station, and at A Taste of the Arts, sponsored by BU's Center for Visual and Performing Arts.
Simms is an award-winning poet with over 150 poetry publications in magazines, literary journals, and newspapers. She formerly served as Poet Laureate of Perry County. Among her awards are a Vermont Studio Writers Scholarship and the Sophie Award for Poetic Excellence.
Wemple is the author of two poetry collections and co-edited the poetry anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press). He also edits Watershed: The Journal of the Susquehanna. A regional native who graduated from Shikellamy High School in Sunbury, Wemple’s work often focuses on the people and places of the Susquehanna Valley. Among his awards are The Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, the Word Journal Chapbook Prize, a Fellowship in the Arts from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry and creative nonfiction.