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Poet Profiles: Elizabeth Bishop

By Ethan Shea

"Elizabeth Bishop"

Photo credit: New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).

In celebration of National Poetry Month, this recurring Poet Profiles segment will introduce you to some of the best poetry Falvey has to offer.

This week will focus on the poems of Elizabeth Bishop, a writer with connections to our local community. Born in Massachusetts in 1911, Bishop was orphaned at a very young age and lived with grandparents in Nova Scotia before returning to New England a few years later.

Travel was characteristic of Bishop’s life. In fact, one of her trips was funded by a traveling fellowship from neighboring Bryn Mawr College, which allowed her to visit South America.

One of Bishop’s greatest influences was poet Marianne Moore, an established American modernist who Bishop became interested in during her time at Vassar College. Both poets are known for their critical attention to detail and witty descriptions of lived experience.

Some notable awards and honors Bishop received throughout her life include the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1970 National Book Award for Poetry, and two Guggenheim Fellowships in 1947 and 1978.

Later in life, Bishop lectured at several prominent American universities including the University of Washington, Harvard University, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After her death at the age of 68, Bishop was buried in the historic Hope Cemetery of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her requested epitaph quotes the last two lines of her poem “The Bight”: “All the untidy activity continues, / awful but cheerful.”

Listed below are some resources related to Elizabeth Bishop you can find here at Falvey:

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.



Please join us on Thursday, April 20, from 4-5:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner, Falvey Library, for a special event in honor of National Poetry Month.

The event will kick off with an official launch and introduction of the Library exhibit titled “Poetic License: Seven Curators’ Poetry Selections from Distinctive Collections.” In this exhibit 7 curators (Beaudry Allen, Michael Foight, Demian Katz, Rebecca Oviedo, Megan Piorko, Christoforos Sassaris, Mike Sgier) have identified poems from Falvey Library’s Distinctive Collections that moved them to share with others. Each curator has had “poetic license” to select and curate an individual exhibit case or shelf of poetry–and then–author a text to tell a tale about their choices.

Following the exhibit launch, there will be an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and friends to participate in an open mic reading. All are invited to bring a favorite piece of poetry or creative writing to share!

This ACS-approved event, co-sponsored by Falvey Library, Creative Writing Program, and the Department of English, is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


Peek at the Week: April 17


In The Lorax, Dr. Seuss wrote, “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, things aren’t going to get better. They’re not.”

Happy Monday, Wildcats! With Earth Day approaching this week, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom. Although it may seem futile, as climate change unarguably is too big for one person to combat, your actions matter, and your actions can make a difference. Don’t let the futility stop you from caring.

This goes beyond climate change and environmental justice. If you care about something, if you want to see a change in the word, keep caring and let that caring shine through your actions.


Monday, April 17

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, and Staff

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

The Senghor-Damas-Césaire Lecture for Africana Studies featuring Kris Manjapra, PhD | 5-6 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Tuesday, April 18

Publish Your Research in Veritas, Villanova’s First Peer-Reviewed Undergraduate Journal | 4-5 p.m. | The Center for Research and Fellowships, Garey Hall (Top Floor) | Open to Villanova Students |

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

2023 Literary Festival Event: Steph Cha | 7 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Livestream Available Here | Free & Open to the Public

Wednesday, April 19

Bridging Cultures: A Celebration of Arab and Palestinian Music | 4 p.m. | Connelly Center Cinema | Free & Open to the Public

Writers and Editors, Ethics, and Craft: A Conversation with the 2023 Irish Studies Heimbold Chair Mary O’Donoghue and Irish writer Lisa McInerney | 4 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Villanova Community | Light Refreshments Served

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Endowed Distinguished Speaker Series Lecture featuring Peter Spina on “The Italian Heritage of American Popular Music” | 7 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Thursday, April 20

Poetic License Exhibit Launch and Open Mic Celebration | 4 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public | Light Refreshments Served

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Friday, April 21

Villanova Gaming Society Meeting | 2:30-4:30 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Sunday, April 23

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 3-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


In celebration of National Poetry Month, today, Apr. 17, is International Haiku Poetry Day. A Japanese form of poetry, Haiku poems are 3 lines with a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. If you’re feeling creative, try out some haiku poetry yourself. For some inspiration, check out Falvey’s haiku resources here.

As some of you may already know, tomorrow, Apr. 18, is Tax Day, but did you know that it is also National Exercise Day? So, to work off some of the stress of doing your taxes with some healthy movement (and bonus points if you take your workout outside).

Saturday, Apr. 22, is Earth Day, a day for celebrating our planet and helping to protect it. So, today, whether you sign some petitions, call your representatives, plant a tree, or pick up litter, try to do something for the environment.

Want to get outside and enjoy the weather this weekend? Sunday, Apr. 23, is National Picnic Day. Whether your perfect picnic is accompanied by a group of friends, your family, or a good book, today is the perfect excuse to get outside and soak up some vitamin D (with sunscreen, of course).

If you’re more of an indoor, air conditioning person, Sunday is also Movie Theater Day. If you’re feeling cinematic, swing by your local movie theater and relax with a movie.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.


Poet Profiles: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

By Ethan Shea

"Frances Ellen Watkins Harper"

Engraving of Frances E.W. Harper from The Underground Railroad by William Still. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

To celebrate National Poetry Month, this recurring Poet Profiles segment will draw attention to some of the amazing poetry available through Falvey.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to a poet of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. In addition to being an accomplished poet, Harper is also a lecturer, author, women’s rights activist, and outspoken voice of the American anti-slavery movement.

Harper was born in Maryland, but by the age of 26, Harper left her state of origin to teach in Ohio and Pennsylvania. While away, Maryland passed a law prohibiting free African Americans from entering the state under threat of enslavement. As a Black woman, Harper could not return home. Moving forward, Harper dedicated her life to the abolitionist movement.

Harper is also the first African American woman to publish a short story in the United States. Additionally, by the age of 21, she had already written a volume of poetry titled Forest Leaves which was considered lost for more than 100 years but was eventually rediscovered.

As a member of the Women Christian Temperance Union, Harper was also an advocate for temperance, or abstaining from alcoholics drinks.

Frances E.W. Harper’s literature is intertwined with her activism and religious beliefs, making the experience of reading her work all the more rewarding from both a political and academic perspective.

Some of Harper’s most prominent pieces are her poem “Eliza Harris,” her 1866 speech “We Are All Bound Up Together,” and her short story “The Two Offers.”

Here are some resources where you can learn more about the life and work of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper:

If there are any poets you would like to see a poet profile about, please let us know in the comments!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

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TBT: It’s Officially National Poetry Month!  

Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

By: Isabel Choi

April, month of 

beautiful blooms and morning dew 

Celebrates the work 

Of our favorite poets –  

Frost, Dickinson, Shakespeare, 

Whitman, Cummings, Hughes, 

Many, many more 

Even our poet, McGarrity 


All the forms, emotions, and hues 

That poetry brings to our hearts 

April, month of 

Beautiful words 

Take inspiration from today’s TBT, a poem written by Irish-American activist Joseph McGarrity in 1936 and write a poem (cultivated from your own “fertile mind.”)

Isabel Choi ’26, is Communication & Marketing Assistant at Falvey Library.





Cat in the Stax: Celebrating Maya Angelou

By Ethan Shea

"Maya Angelou"

Maya Angelou in 1969 (Photo courtesy of NYT)

Yesterday, April 4, 2023, marked 95 years since the birth of poet, memoirist, civil rights, and women’s rights activist Maya Angelou.

Angelou passed away at the age of 86 in 2014, leaving behind a literary legacy like no other. She was born in 1928 in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. After several moves and a difficult upbringing, at the age of 16, Angelou became the first Black woman streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Soon after, at the age of 17, Angelou gave birth to her son, Guy Johnson.

At one point in her life, Maya Angelou was even a professional dancer, having worked with Alvin Ailey and moved to New York City to pursue a career in dance. After touring Europe and even recording an album in which she sang calypso music, Angelou eventually decided to focus on her writing career.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” – Maya Angelou

Angelou worked with civil rights activists such as James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., even working to organize a march with King. Sadly, after postponing the event, King was assassinated on Angelou’s 40th birthday. A year later, Angelou published her breakout autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

In 1972, a screenplay written by Angelou, Georgia, Georgia, became the first known screenplay written by a Black woman to be produced. Angelou even wrote the soundtrack for the film!

Angelou was also a mentor of Oprah Winfrey, having met in the 1970s. After Angelou’s death, Winfrey went on to speak at her memorial service along with Michelle Obama.

In addition to her seven autobiographies, Angelou is also a celebrated poet. Although her poetry has not received as much critical attention as her prose, many believe Angelou’s poetry is understudied.

Angelou’s poetry readings, the public and performative aspects of them, are what made them special. Considering April is National Poetry Month, you should definitely consider reading some of Angelou’s poetry if you have not already!

If you have a few free minutes, you can also read this blog commemorating Angelou becoming the first Black woman to be minted on a quarter.

And finally, to celebrate Maya Angelou’s birthday, check out Falvey’s collection of her work.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


Cat in the Stax: “I too, dislike it”

By Ethan Shea


In just a few days, National Poetry Month will begin. This celebration is the perfect opportunity to return to your favorite poems, discover some new ones, or even write one for yourself!

Poetry comes in many forms. You could channel your inner Shakespeare and write a sonnet, a fourteen-line poem, you might challenge yourself to compose a villanelle, a much more complex and constrictive nineteen-line poem.

"'Poetry' (1967) by Marianne Moore"

“Poetry” (1967) by Marianne Moore

If you have a lot of time on your hands, maybe you’ll write an epic poem, a very long narrative poem that usually tells the tale of a valiant protagonist doing (for lack of a better word) epic things. The stories told by Homer in The Iliad and The Odyssey are two of the most famous epic poems ever written. However, these tales were most likely crafted through oral tradition and eventually compiled into the texts we know today.

For some, poetry can be difficult to love. One piece could appear needlessly complex, and another may seem too simple. Even Marianne Moore, a renowned American poet, famously declared, “I too, dislike it” to begin her aptly titled poem, “Poetry.” But don’t worry, the piece goes on to explain her love for poetry.

If you’re struggling to get into poetry, be patient. With the unceasing number of poems available here at Falvey, rest assured there’s something in the stacks written just for you.

Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most celebrated poets, once wrote in a letter to her friend and mentor: “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

With that in mind, try to keep your head in tact when reading these poetry books:

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them

The Poems of T.S. Eliot

The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop

The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara

The Tradition – Jericho Brown

Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open: Poems – Diane Seuss

The Unswept Room – Sharon Olds

Ordinary Beast – Nicole Sealey

If you just can’t get enough poetry, mark your calendars for April 20 and join us in the Speakers’ Corner of Falvey at 4 p.m. for the Poetic License Exhibit Launch and Open Mic Celebration! We hope to see you there!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


New Online Exhibit – “Rediscovering T. A. Daly: Immigrant Voices in Poetry”

Our latest online exhibit, “Rediscovering T. A. Daly: Immigrant Voices in Poetry,” is now available, just as April’s National Poetry Month draws to a close. The exhibit explores the life and works of Thomas Augustine Daly (1871-1948), a native and lifelong Philadelphian; an Irish-American and a Catholic; a journalist, poet, and prolific author; and an early Villanova University alumnus.

This exhibit brings together newly digitized materials from Falvey Memorial Library’s collections, including Daly’s notebooks from his Villanova days (1880-1887), a scrapbook documenting his early career, and the majority of his published books.

These items are also available in the Digital Library, while the exhibit provides context around the poetry—written mainly in Italian-American and Irish-American dialect—for which he was best known. His collective works give us glimpses into his own life deeply rooted in Philadelphia’s Irish and Catholic communities, with his poetry strongly themed around a broader American identity through the everyday characters he created.

Visit the online exhibit here:

Thomas A. Daly (with wife and children)

Photograph, Thomas A. Daly (with wife and children), c. 1910. Villanova Photograph Collection. Villanova University Archives, Villanova University. Thomas Daly and Ann “Nannie” Barrett had eight children: Leonard (b. 1897), John (b. 1899), Tom Jr. (b. 1901), Anne (Nancy) Elizabeth (b. 1903), Stephen (b. 1904), Brenda (1907-1914), Frederic (b. 1908), and Frances Joan (b. 1914).


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.





In Praise of Scrapple

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share this poem by Philadelphia poet and Villanova alumnus Thomas Augustine Daly (1871-1948). The poem appears in McAroni Ballads and Other Verses (1919), newly digitized in our Digital Library along with unique items from Distinctive Collections. A full digital exhibit exploring T. A. Daly will launch later this week. In the meantime, here follows a taste of that “frosty morning dish that Philadelphians sing, and outlanders jest about” (Daly, Herself and the Houseful, p. 107):

In Praise of Scrapple

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

When the northwest wind is blowing,
Sharp enough for frost or snowing,
And the days of muggy weather
Have departed altogether,
All our husbandmen are getting
Butcher knives laid out for whetting,
And some morning with the dawn
Comes the porcine slaughter on.
Let’s not morbidly be dealing
With the scuffling and the squealing,
But, the gruesome parts deleting,
Get us to the joys of eating.
Well, then, when hog-killing’s through
This is what the housewives do:

Clean a pig’s head, nicely, neatly,
Boil till meat leaves bones completely.
When it’s cold remove all greases,
Chop meat into little pieces;
Put the liquor and the meat
Back again upon the heat
Slowly stirring cornmeal in
Till it is no longer thin.
Pepper, salt, and sage they bring
For its proper seasoning.
When the mess is thick and hot
It is lifted from the pot,
Poured then into pans to mold
And so left until it’s cold.
So ends Chapter I.
The sequel
Is a breakfast without equal!

Come! it is a nippy morning,
Frost lace, the panes adorning,
Takes the sun from many angles
And the windows glow with spangles.
From the kitchen range are rising
Odors richly appetizing;

Paradise is in the skillet,
For the scrapple slices fill it,
And each flour-encrusted piece
Smiling in its fragrant grease
Takes a coat of golden tan
From the ardor of the pan.
Crisp and brown the outer crust, oh!
Food to rouse the gourmand’s gusto
From your platter gives you greeting;
Truly this is royal eating!

Out upon your gibes ironic!
You who’ve never known the tonic
Toothsomeness of savory scrapple
Dare to judge it? Well, I never!
When no morsel of it ever
Greased your graceless Adam’s apple.

– T. A. Daly.


Image from Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper via The Encyclopedia of Philadelphia

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Cat in the Stax: Celebrating National Poetry Month


Tomorrow is not only April Fool’s Day, but also the first day of National Poetry Month! National Poetry Month is a way to recognize current and past poets while also exploring the poet inside of us all. Below are a handful of ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, whether you’re an avid poetry reader or new to the genre. 

Attend the 2021 Villanova University Literary Festival! Robin Coste Lewis, one of the Literary Festival’s featured speakers, will be on Zoom for a virtual reading and talk on Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m. Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. Hannah Khalil, playwright and the 2021 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair for Irish Studies, will present a virtual talk on Thursday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Khalil’s work for stage includes A Museum in Baghdad, which opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in 2019, Interference for The National Theatre of Scotland, The Scar Test for Soho Theatre and Scenes from 68* Years for the Arcola. 

These ACS-approved events, co-sponsored by the English Department, the Creative Writing Program, the Honors Program, Africana Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, the Center for Irish Studies, and Falvey Memorial Library, are free and open to the public. You can find more information about the events and register to attend here

Listen to a poem a day. The Academy of American Poets releases a podcast called Poem-a-Day where you can listen to just that, a poem a day. Most of the poems are under 10 minutes long and perfect to listen to while walking around campus between classes.  

Go back to your childhood poetry roots. When I think about where my awareness of poetry started, I’m instantly transported back to my childhood bedroom where I’d sit and read Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. His collection of sketches and poems contains not only comedic poetry for kids, but also wisdom for adults of any age. Pick it up from Falvey’s collection and enjoy the nostalgia!

Create your own poems. One way to stir your own creativity is to put a bunch of words into a jar and then pick three out and try to make a poem. Doing this with your friends and family may help you recognize the poet inside of youor at least produce a laugh or two!

Do you have favorite poets that you’re going to be reading this month? Let us know in the comments! I’m always looking for new recommendations.

jenna newman headshotJenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.

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Last Modified: March 31, 2021

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