Penn?State Altoona plans African-American Read-In

The 24th annual African-American Read-In Chain will be celebrated Feb. 24 and 25 at Penn State Altoona.

This year’s theme is “1963-2013: From the March into the Millennium.”

Events begin at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Port-Sky Cafe with a community gathering featuring music, literature and food. It is free and open to the public.

Participants are invited to share a short reading from a work by an African-American author or just listen and enjoy. Advance reservations are required. RSVP to or 949-5280 by Friday.

The Read-In Chain continues Feb. 25 with “Monday Marathon,” an Open Mic Read-In in the Slep Student Center. From 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., various dance, theater and musical performances will take place to celebrate African-American authors and artists.

A special session on black women writers will be held, and at noon, Joe Petrulionis, instructor in history and philosophy, will offer the keynote presentation “Where’s the Epic! Singing the Birth of a Multiethnic National-ity.”

In late afternoon, a coffee house will take place for Penn State Altoona students to share their original poetry and spoken word art.

At 5:30 p.m., Ross Gay, featured author of the 2013 African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona, will give a reading of his works.

Gay is author of “Bringing the Shovel Down and Against Which.” His poems have been published in numerous magazines and journals, in addition to being widely anthologized.

He is an editor for the chapbook press Q Avenue, and has collaborated with Kimberly Thomas on a number of art books. Gay received his master of fine arts degree in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his doctorate in American literature from Temple University. He teaches in the low-residency master of fine arts program in poetry at Drew University and in Indiana University’s English department.

A book signing will immediately follow the presentation, where the poet’s two books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Penn State Altoona English Pro-gram’s Writers & Speakers Series.

If you’d like to sign up to read or have questions about the Monday Marathon, contact Robin Reese at

The 2013 African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona events are sponsored by Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, chancellor; The Letters Arts and Sciences Program; the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Division of Arts and Humanities; the Division of Education, Human Development, and Social Sciences; the Altoona College Honors Program; and the Blair County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.