You are exploring: VU > Library > Blogs > Library News

John Szot: Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant

John Szot

To honor the University’s Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards, the Library is publishing contestants’ poems or prose excerpts on Falvey’s blog. The Library also has created posters for the contestants’ poems or prose excerpts, which will be displayed throughout the library’s first floor.

The contest includes both poetry and prose (fiction or creative non-fiction). The Department of English will announce the Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards winners at its annual awards ceremony.

“The Return to Tug Hill”
by John Szot

The deer must have kept the grass short, trimmed
to the edges of the clapboard
porch. There’s no creak, no protest of dried pine
as my father slips open the door –
like a stone turned over, two years of rot uncovered
in search for worms.
To clear the stale taste from the air,
he steps with practiced habit
and grasps the gnawed handle of the broom
set beneath the skylight.

In one deft motion my father lifts the pole up,
pulling my eyes over a table of jumbled bottles
and the cobwebbed cast iron hung from the wall,
until the tip of the handle locks into its place:
the notch in the woodblock nailed to the sill’s
bottom edge, which keeps the window shut.

My father pushes slightly and the block turns –

just as my grandfather’s hand first turned the block on the nail,
letting out the smell of fresh-cut resin stuck on his hands
which he washed in the cold steel sink of St. Elizabeth’s
before the exam, where he put the flat of the
stethoscope on Mr. Pound’s back, and said

“Breathe in,
…..Breath out,
……….Breathe in,
……………Breathe out.”

The air must have come rushing in, flooding
through the years of smoke-filled walls
and half-spoken words born
in such a lonely cage –

though now the block just turns,
and the window comes free,
and Dad sets the broom back in its place.

John Szot, a Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant, says “‘The Return to Tug Hill’ started as a simple observation on a hunting trip. I think that’s exactly what interests me about poetry — it provides a unique and effective way to make connections that at first don’t always seem clear.”

John Szot is a biology and English major from Keene, New Hampshire. He enjoys fishing and playing the piano.

1 People Like This Post

Danielle Sekerak: Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant

 photo - Danielle Sekerak 2

To honor the University’s Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards, the Library is publishing contestants’ poems or prose excerpts on Falvey’s blog. The Library also has created posters for the contestants’ poems or prose excerpts, which will be displayed throughout the library’s first floor.

The contest includes both poetry and prose (fiction or creative non-fiction). The Department of English will announce the Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards winners at its annual awards ceremony.

The Hanging
by Danielle Sekerak

He’s standing there in a fitted tuxedo
With his dark brown hair slicked back.
It reminds me of the picture I have of us,
Two best friends going to prom,
When he wore that toothy smile
And those cobalt blue converse.

Those same ones he wore
At Fairfield High’s graduation,
When the flash of the camera
Captured us as we threw
Our crimson caps into the air,
His hand on my shoulder.

The same hand I high-fived
As he and I posed
In front of our dorm
For our first college picture.
I framed that picture with the caption:
“Something old and something new.”

And it’s the same dorm we went back to
As seniors to remember where and how
We had started,
But this time our fingers were interlocked,
As Jessie told us to
“Say cheese!”

She’s the same friend who borrowed him
But never gave him back, the thief
Who is standing next to him
In the photograph I now hold
In my ink-smudged fingers.
It has been creased
Down the middle by
As a way to separate
Because I had
That would happen.

But Pastels and lavender hydrangeas surround
The new Mrs.,
As do her friends.
I am not among them.
I am the outsider,
Who cut out the picture from the wedding column
In The Fairfield County Courier.
The black and white affair has stained
My fingers and now impatiently waits
For my hands to sentence it to death.
Or better yet,
I will hang it in my room.

Danielle Sekerak, a Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant, says “Emily Temple’s ‘My Pencils Outlast Their Erasers: Great Writers on the Art of Revision’ features Ernest Hemingway’s The Paris Review interview, in which he was asked how much rewriting he does. His answer: ‘It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.’ The interviewer’s curiosity was piqued: ‘Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?’ Hemingway responded, ‘Getting the words right.’

“For me, poetry is just that: it’s about getting the words right and remaining patient throughout the entire editing process.”


2015 Falvey Scholars Awards Presentation & Reception Ceremony: Recognizing Outstanding Undergraduate Research at Villanova

Falvey Memorial Library, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and the Honors Program are pleased to announce the 2015 Falvey Scholars Award winners: Katie Kline, Elizabeth Long, Jessica Swoboda, Nicholas Ader, Joseph Schaadt and John Szot. These six remarkable senior students have been selected from a pool of candidates from various disciplines for their outstanding undergraduate student research projects at Villanova University.

Later this week, these students will be recognized at our 2015 Falvey Scholars Awards Presentation and Reception Ceremony, which is a public event, open to all. Award recipients will give brief presentations on the content and findings of the research involved in the writing of the thesis or creation of their winning project report at the event, which will be taking place in Falvey Memorial Library’s room 205 on Friday, April 24 from 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Vice President of Academic Affairs, Rev. Kail C. Ellis, OSA, PhD, will give opening remarks at the event and the scholars will then present their work to the Villanova Community.

The following projects will be presented:

Student: Jessica Swoboda
Title: “Woolf and Waugh: Blurring the Distinction Between the Religious and the Secular”
Mentors: Dr. Helena Tomko and Dr. Megan Quigley
Presentation Time: 9:15 a.m.

Student: Nicholas Ader
Title: “Comparison of Human Nrf2 Antibodies: A Tale of Two Proteins” and “Novel Activators of the Nrf2 Pathway: A Quinone Alone?”
Mentor: Dr. Aimee Eggler
Presentation Time: 9:45 a.m.

Student: Joseph Schaadt
Title: “Load Capacity and Thermal Efficiency Optimization of a Research Data Center Using Computational Modeling”
Mentors: Dr. Aaron Wemhoff, Dr. Kamran Fouladi, Dr. Alfonso Ortega and Dr. Joseph Pigeon
Presentation Time: 10:15 a.m.

Student: Katie Kline
Title: “What to Know About Home Genetic-Test Kits”
Mentor: Dr. Theresa Capriotti
Presentation Time: 10:45 a.m.

Student: Elizabeth Long
Title: “Nurses’ Perceptions of Human Trafficking in an Urban Emergency Department: A Qualitative Study”
Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth B. Dowdell, RN, PhD, FAAN
Presentation Time: 11:15 a.m.

Student: John Szot
Title: “Song Recognition in Black-Capped and Carolina Chickadee Hybrids: An Experimental Approach”
Mentor: Dr. Robert Curry
Presentation Time: 11:45 a.m.

Once the Scholars’ presentations have been completed, University President, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS will give closing remarks at the event. A continental breakfast will also be served throughout the program. Be sure to stop by the event to help us celebrate the 2015 Falvey Scholars!

Falvey Scholars is one of the keynote events during Villanova’s Spring Research Exposition, or EXPO ’15. This is the second annual week-long celebration of research on campus, taking place from April 20-April 24. Tons of ACS-approved events are available for participation. Make sure to check out the detailed schedule for a full list of highlighted events!

1 People Like This Post

The Curious ‘Cat: When you need a break from studying, what is a good way to refresh your mind?

Curious Cat

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “The Curious ‘Cat: When you need a break from studying, what is a good way to refresh your mind or to relieve stress?


Casey Bordelon—“I like to walk around west campus where I live, in the apartments. And I call my mom or call my grandparents . . . enjoy the nice weather.”






Julia WoodJulia Wood—“I usually go for a good snack, like pretzels or yogurt . . . also find some friends and talk to them ‘cause they always get my mind off of things.”






RS8917_DSC_3161-scrJusua Kim—“I usually just take a nap—just go to sleep—take a 20-minute nap . . . that usually stops me from being tired. That’s about it.”






Jim BlubelloJim Blubello—“I usually just take a break, get a drink of water—a snack or something—maybe get lunch.”







Vanessa BenincasaVanessa Benincasa—“I go to the gym; I just go to Davis. I think it’s nice to have a quick break, and I think working out is very refreshing and stress-relieving—just an hour, though; I don’t go crazy.”





Joseph ClearyJoseph Cleary—“I like to take a walk around campus: a short 10-to-15 minute walk, gather my thoughts, and come back to studying.”


The Highlighter: Want to Study Smarter (not Harder)? Take Four


Uncommon yet practical tips from a professional study coach to help you achieve optimal results—interested? Nicole Subik of Villanova University’s Learning Support Services has prepared four quick-and-easy strategies.

For additional study strategies or techniques for time management, test-taking, test anxiety and more, contact or walk into Learning Support Services on Falvey’s second floor.

Learning Support Services


Alyssa Suhm: Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant

Photo - Alyssa Suhm 2

To honor the University’s Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards, the Library is publishing contestants’ poems or prose excerpts on Falvey’s blog. The Library also has created posters for the contestants’ poems or prose excerpts, which will be displayed throughout the library’s first floor.

The contest includes both poetry and prose (fiction or creative non-fiction). The Department of English will announce the Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards winners at its annual awards ceremony.

“Composer’s Breath”

by Alyssa Suhm

Scattered yellowed music sheets.
Shining violin. Abandoned notebooks,
Dog-eared and worn thin.
Tiny, desperate flowers clinging
To a slender vase.
Geometric knitted blanket
Confronts the fluid space.
Tired light glances across the scene.
Composer’s breath, just out of sight.
Unfinished pages gleam.

Alyssa Suhm, a Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant, says “I wrote ‘Composer’s Breath’ as a part of Prof. Mary Catherine Staples’ poetry workshop at the Philadelphia Art Museum. For this poem we were asked to put ourselves in the moment of a painting and recreate the experience in words.

“I study environmental science and Chinese, so I think it’s important to stay well-rounded through creative outlets like poetry. I have taken classes with Prof. Staples since freshman year and see an immediate connection between poetry and my passion for the natural environment, especially through poets such as Virgil, William Wordsworth, and Seamus Heaney, all of whom wrote extensively about their connection with nature.”

1 People Like This Post

Dig Deeper: Outstanding Faculty Research Award Recipient, Dr. Giorgi Japaridze


On Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m., an Outstanding Faculty Research Award lecture featuring this year’s recipient Giorgi Japaridze, PhD, professor of computing sciences will be held in the Reading Room of Falvey Memorial Library. Dr. Japaridze will discuss the extensive research that led him to win the coveted Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 2015.

Tailored for a general audience, Dr. Japaridze’s talk “Computability, Logic, and Computability Logic” will give an overview of the new line of research introduced by the speaker several years ago, named “Computability Logic.” In the same sense that traditional logic is about providing a systematic answer to the question “What is (always) true?” Computability Logic is about providing a systematic answer to the more general question “What can (always) be computed and how?” This is a long-term program for rebuilding logic into a comprehensive formal theory of computability. Light refreshments will be served.

This event, co-sponsored by Falvey Memorial Library, the office for Research and Graduate Programs (ORGP), is free and open to the public.

To read up on Dr. Japaridze’s topic of research, check out the links below, selected by science librarian Alfred Fry.

Dig Deeper

Dr. Japaridze’s page on Computability Logic:


Game Semantics for Linear Logic?

Graduate Course Lecture Notes

“In the beginning was game semantics” by Giorgi Japaridze


Dig Deeper resources provided by Alfred Fry, science librarian.


The Curious ‘Cat: When the weather’s this nice, how do you get your studying done?

Curious Cat

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “When the weather’s this nice, how do you get your studying done?

RS8790_DSC_3074-scrJulia Rose Clarke —“I like to do it outside, like on the bench here … I was outside of Café Nova yesterday because it was really nice. … I would just do readings outside. If I had to write an essay I might do that inside, but readings I can get done outside.”





RS8794_DSC_3078-scrJane Richter—“Oh, it’s really difficult. I try to do my more difficult things inside and focus on doing all my readings outside so I can actually focus. It’s more free thinking that I like to do outside whereas structured thinking I’ll make myself go inside.”





Julian ChavezJulian Chavez—‘I think it’s important to first see what the weather has to offer and enjoy it, indulge in it for a while. … I find it most effective, before your day even starts, to write down some of the things you need to get done and to put a realistic time for anything … even though lunch may go an extra hour than you expected, at least you know you can go back to the list you created in the morning  … “I need to get this done sooner rather than later” I think, planning your day before it’s even a nice day is a good start.’

TrainerThomas Trainer—“not very well … I’m on the track team, so I do get to be outside everyday … not that I wouldn’t want to be outside anyway. This weekend was especially difficult … I took a few quick study breaks … with friends. … It’s been tough especially since I’m working on senior thesis, so it’s nose to the grindstone. I just have to force myself to make a goal for each day.”



161-1113tm-vector2-2991Yi Zhou—“There are works that you have to get done.  Once I’m done with the work, then I can do whatever I want. Before that, I need to study.”











RS8801_DSC_3085-scrRachel Malloy—“I tend to take a break and go outside for a little bit and then come back inside. I alternate so that I get a taste of the nice weather but also get something done ‘cause I can’t actually do work when I’m outside.”


President Lincoln Assassinated 150 Years Ago

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the first American president to suffer this fate. Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, had met with General Ulysses S. Grant and the Cabinet that morning and planned to attend with his wife and others a comedy, “Our American Cousin,” at Ford’s Theater that evening. In the afternoon he and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, took a carriage ride followed by dinner. Mrs. Lincoln complained that she had a headache and wished to stay home; President Lincoln said he was tired, but needed entertainment and planned to go to the theater with or without his wife. After a brief visit to the War Department, the president returned to the White House for Mrs. Lincoln. Accompanied by Major Henry R. Rathbone and Clara Harris, Rathbone’s fiancée, the group arrived at the theater after the play had started.


President and Mrs. Lincoln and their guests were seated in a decorated box at Ford’s Theater and John Parker, a guard, was stationed outside the box. Unfortunately Parker left his post and, during the third act of the play shortly after 10 pm, John Wilkes Booth, a famous American actor, entered the box and shot the president in the back of his head. The gunshot rang out; Booth climbed over the balustrade of the president’s box and jumped onto the stage where he brandished a dagger and shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Thus always to tyrants!)” Although he had caught a spur in the draperies decorating the box and landed so awkwardly that he broke a leg, Booth was able to escape from the theater, setting off a massive manhunt that lasted until April 26. On that date John Wilkes Booth and an accomplice, David Herold, were captured in a tobacco barn near Bowling Green, Virginia. Herold surrendered; Booth was killed.

A young doctor in the theater audience, Dr. Charles Leale, examined the president shortly after Booth shot him, and it was decided that Lincoln be carried across the street to William H. Petersen’s boarding house rather than be transported the greater distance to the White House. Over six feet tall, Lincoln was laid diagonally across the bed in the small first floor bedroom of a government employee. Lincoln’s personal physician, Dr. Robert King Stone, was summoned although three doctors had accompanied Lincoln to the Petersen House. In the hours before Abraham Lincoln died over 90 people visited the Petersen House. Lincoln’s son, Robert, was brought to the house and remained there until his father died. Mrs. Lincoln was there, periodically visiting her husband, then retreating to a nearby room.

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

At 7:22 a.m. on April 15, President Lincoln died, having never regained consciousness. When informed of his death, Mrs. Lincoln said, “Oh, my God, and have I given my husband to die?” Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton said, “Now he belongs to the ages.” Lincoln’s body was placed in a temporary casket and transferred to the White House. Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president. On April 18 Lincoln’s body lay in state in the East Room of the White House. After a funeral the following day, he was laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda. On April 21 his body was taken to the railroad station in Washington to begin the long journey – 1,654 miles – to Springfield, Ill. At various locations along the route to Springfield, the train’s scheduled stops were published in the local newspapers. At those stops, the coffin was placed on a hearse and taken to an appropriate public building for viewing by the public. Finally, on May 4 he was buried in Springfield.

The final military engagement of the Civil War occurred on May 12, a skirmish at Palmito Ranch, Texas, although Robert E. Lee had surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the war.

On June 30, 1865, eight assassination conspirators were convicted and on July 7 they were executed. John Wilkes Booth, who had actually fired the bullet which killed Lincoln, had been dead since April 26.

Dig Deeper:

“A Doctor’s View of the Lincoln Assassination.” Interview with Blaine Houmes, M.D.

Timeline by Clark Evans, Library of Congress historian.

Eyewitness from the National Archives

Lincoln’s Assassination (2014). Edward Steers, Jr.

The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory (2010). Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds and Frank J. Williams.

The Lincoln Assassination: The Evidence (2009). William C. Edwards and Edward Steers.

When the Bells Tolled for Lincoln: Southern Reaction to the Assassination (1997). Carolyn L. Jarrell.

The Assassination and Death of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, at Washington, on the 14th of April, 1865 (1865). Abott A. Abott.

The Conspirators:
American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies (2004). Michael W. Kauffman.

The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln (2008). Kate Clifford Larson.

The Riddle of Dr. Mudd (1974). Samuel Carter.

imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


‘Caturday: Poets, Then and Now

Five years ago Christine Simmons, ’10, then editor-in-chief of Arthology, presented the newest issue of Villanova’s student literary-art magazine at Falvey’s Open Mic Poetry Reading. This link will take you to the full blog article that mentions other poets and artists, including the Senior Class Poet of 2010, Emily Southerton, whose work was published in Arthology.

I wonder who will be featured this year at the Open Mic event on April 22.

Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons, ’10










LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnail‘Caturday feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion team, and team leader, Access Services.


« Previous PageNext Page »


Last Modified: April 11, 2015