On Monday, Nov. 2, the West Chester University English Department will be welcoming Dr. Eli Goldblatt, an award-winning author for his book “Writing Homes: A Literacy Autobiography,” and professor of English at Temple University, to give a talk on community literacy.
This talk, which centers around the theme of “How to Learn and What to Do About it,” is free and open to the public, and will take place at the Philips lower level conference room from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Goldblatt was recently given the opportunity to attend a conference on community writing in Boulder, Colorado.
I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Goldblatt, the man who helped start this field of community literacy, to get some more inside information about why he is coming to West Chester and what he wants to accomplish:
1.) What prompted you to have this talk?
“I know a number of the faculty and I admire my colleagues here at WCU. WCU has been doing some very good work in the neighborhoods around the school, so I thought I could give a talk about the work they are doing in the schools.
“More projects around WCU are now reaching into Philly, which means there is lots of potential. I wanted to share some work I’ve been doing and watch the projects unfold.”
2.) What will you be speaking about in particular?
“Networks of literacy sponsorship—different kinds of nonprofits who work on specific subjects/themes related to the community and in the process also encourage and support literacy in the neighborhoods. For example, urban farms, health clinics, and community arts projects in Philly.
“All these organizations do work in their specific areas but in the process support literacy.”
“College and universities can now connect with the efforts of nonprofts who are working independently.”
“Informal connections to Temple and WCU faculty do projects in related to the projects I am working on.”
“One of those projects include the community that publishes books that come from writing-related projects such as New City Community Press. One of the books they published, “Mirrors and Windows,” is a collection of stories in Spanish and English about mushroom workers’ lives in Kennet Square and the people who crossed the border who had hard times living in this country”.
3.) What are you hoping your listeners can take away from your talk?
“I hope to stir the conversation related to these projects. How are people in colleges related to people in communities around them? How can we develop ways to improve people’s lives? The more people in facility with reading and writing particularly around issues they want to push, the more people will be able to exercise their democratic rights”.
Dr. Goldblatt has been incredibly involved in these projects.
He was one of the co-founders of the Tree House books project, which is located near his office in a neighborhood among the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
For more information, attend his talk on Monday, Nov. 2 in the Philips lower level conference room.
Samantha Mineroff is a second-year student majoring in English writing with a minor in creative writing. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.