September 23, 2022

Final Wordsmiths Poetry Reading of the Semester – The Centurion

The final set of Wordsmiths readings of 2021-2022, on Friday April 29, will feature an evening filled with the words and worlds of two veteran poets, Jane Hirshfield and Luray Gross.

The opportunity to experience a live poetry performance is “a one-of-a-kind experience,” says Professor Ethel Rackin, professor of language and literature at Bucks and director of the Wordsmiths reading series and Poet Laureate program.

“The Wordsmiths series has helped establish the college as a center of literary and artistic activity for the community and beyond,” says Rackin.

The Bucks Wordsmiths reading series has been around since the 1960s. It brings together a large and diverse community and provides students with the perfect storm of opportunities to connect what they learned in the classroom with the wider world: perhaps something that is needed now more than ever.

“The Wordsmiths series is one of the ways Bucks contributes to the vitality of the arts community in Bucks County. The series brings together poets and non-poets, students, community members and visitors,” says Rackin.

It’s for everyone. Sometimes people can be intimidated by poetry or think that “poets are dead or pretentious. When they attend a live reading, it reminds them that poets are people like us! Rackin said.

“Each semester, students tell me that they are so happy to have participated and that they would be likely to come back. The same goes for the general public. The events are accessible, lively and fun. They are created to appeal to a wide audience of newcomers and regulars,” she adds.

And those who attend are in for a treat with Hirshfield and Gross. “The series is dedicated to equity and inclusion,” Rackin says, and one way to achieve that goal is to make it a regular practice to pair a local poet with a visiting poet.

“Both Hirshfield and Gross are seasoned professionals in their fields,” Rackin says. “Hirshfield will be visiting us from California and Gross is from Bucks County. Both poets write about the natural world, human nature, spiritual matters, and more. There is a profound honesty, directness and beauty in the work of every poet.

So, what does the evening have in store for us? “A relaxing, enjoyable and inspiring evening,” says Rackin. And then even more… the event is free and open to everyone, and there are also VIP tickets that can be purchased.

VIP tickets are $15 and include reserved seating and entry to the 6-7:20 p.m. reception outside the auditorium. The reception includes light hors d’oeuvres and two wines, beers or soft drinks per person. VIP ticket holders must be at least 21 years old. Identity documents will be checked.

Free and paid tickets can be obtained online at or at

Tickets can also be obtained at the Zlock box office in front of the auditorium on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or the day of the event.

The reading will also be broadcast on Zoom.

So, get down to the Zlock or hop on Zoom and grab this final opportunity to experience live poetry in the Wordsmiths Reading Series for 2021-2022 on Friday, April 29. And don’t worry it’s the last. The series will resume in the fall, with more information to follow.