By Marisa Grill
The Ohio University Program in Creative Writing will host its annual Writers Harvest benefit reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the Baker University Center Theatre. Proceeds from the $5 admission fee will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeastern Ohio.
This year's featured writers are poet Jill Allyn Rosser, fiction writer John Bullock and playwright Charles Smith. The event aims to bring awareness to the issue of poverty in Southeastern Ohio.
"Students here can be closed off to the poverty that surrounds the university," said Kevin Haworth, coordinator of special projects for the English department. "This event can help remind students and the community that we live in a sphere of affluence within a rougher truth."
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeastern Ohio is one of 196 regional affiliates of Feeding America, which was formerly America's Second Harvest. It distributes surplus food, donated from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, to more than 200 food pantries, soup kitchens and congregate meal sites throughout 10 counties in southeastern Ohio.
The department is hoping to raise $1,000 from the event, which translates into several hundred meals -- or about two months of nutritious meals for a needy family, Haworth said.
"In the current economic environment, it would be difficult for most of us to write a check for $1,000, but by working together, $5 at a time, we can deliver just that."
In addition to the event proceeds, students will be collecting donations at the Baker University Center entrance throughout the week.
This year, all of the featured writers are members of Ohio University's faculty.
Rosser's most-recent collection of poetry, "Foiled Again," won the New Criterion Poetry Prize in 2007. She is an associate professor of English and editor of the creative writing program's publication New Ohio Review.
Bullock's first novel, "Making Faces," was published in May. Bullock is a part-time faculty member in the English department and managing editor of the New Ohio Review.
Smith is head of the Professional Playwright Program in the School of Theater and playwright in residence at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. His plays have been produced off-Broadway and around the country and include "Free Man of Color," "Freefall," "Knock Me a Kiss" and "Sister Carrie."