Alumna and poet Jen Town to read at Penn State Behrend

Creative Writers Reading Series returns Sept. 20

ERIE, Pa. — What does it mean to live and age well?

That’s one of the key themes explored in “The Light of What Comes After,” the first poetry collection from Jen Town, an Erie native and Penn State Behrend alumna.

Released in April, the collection has received high praise, winning the 2017 May Sarton New Hampshire Prize for Poetry. Town will read from the collection on Thursday, Sept. 20, when she visits Behrend as part of the college’s Creative Writers Reading Series. Her 6 p.m. reading and the reception preceding it are free and open to the public. Both events will be held in the Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel.

“In Jen Town’s ‘The Light of What Comes After,’ the magical world promised to children becomes stories that can leave destitute the inner lives of those children become adults,” said George Looney, distinguished professor of English and creative writing. “These distinctly adult poems lovingly unsettle the settled world, and give us, anew, what ‘was called myth,’ having imbued it with a disturbing and evocative relevance.”

Towns’ poetry has appeared in Mid-American Review, Cimarron Review, Epoch, Third Coast, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lake Effect, The Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review and other publications.

The Creative Writers Reading Series is produced by Penn State Behrend’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program with support from the Clarence A. and Eugenie Baumann Smith Fund. For additional information, call 814-898-6108 or visit