Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Stan Rubin & William Heyen:Writers Forum founders present 50 years later

by Tegan Mazur - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 21st 2017 05:00 pm
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

This semester marked the 50th anniversary of The College at Brockport's Writers Forum.  Authors Stan Rubin (left) and William Heyen (right) offered striking performances and reflected on their individual histories with both the college and the Writers Forum itself.
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER This semester marked the 50th anniversary of The College at Brockport's Writers Forum. Authors Stan Rubin (left) and William Heyen (right) offered striking performances and reflected on their individual histories with both the college and the Writers Forum itself.
No Prior Images
Viewing 1 of 2
View Next Image

 The Writers Forum held its first event of the spring semester, officially kicking off its 50th anniversary, Wednesday, Feb. 15. The marking of this auspicious occasion did not go uncelebrated. The anniversary of the forum welcomed back two of its earliest supporters and creators: Stan Rubin and William Heyen.

The event began as it always does, with a question-and-answer style discussion exclusively between the authors and the current students of the English class Writer's Craft. Students, as well as the instructor, are granted special audience with the visiting author to ask any questions about the writer or the work the students read in the class. 

The two featured authors sat at the front of the gathered group. They were strikingly easy-going men, both wearing simple suits with open collars. Rubin carried a plastic bag with his books in it and a glass of wine, something he later expressed he'd always wanted to do while running the Writers Forum. The two sat and had a discussion with the students for an hour about the ins-and-outs of writing, specifically about poetry. Rubin gave a lot of insight in regards to his own ideas of writing.

"It's worth thinking about why you're doing it and how to do it your way," Rubin said.

Similar to the discussion, the reading was twofold, as Rubin and Heyen both gave separate readings. The crowd gathered quietly in the New York Room of Cooper Hall.

Heyen went first. He started his reading off by giving the audience an overview of what lead him to the room that night; his journey from being a high school athlete with little thought to the realm of college, to a young, busy graduate and eventually a Brockport professor helping out with a new event called The Writers Forum. 

Heyen described how easily he was swept up in all the excitement and literary discussion that swirled around the forum. He then began to read from his collection of poetic works.

Rubin came up to the stage after Heyen and began his reading. Similar to Heyen, Rubin did not dive right into his actual poetic work, but instead regaled the audience with some of his own story. Rubin expressed for a second time that night how strange it was to be back at Brockport after so many years, describing it as if he had stepped back through time. It was hard not to feel the same as he spoke. When someone so seasoned returns to Brockport to speak, it becomes obvious that Brockport is not just a SUNY college here in 2017, but an institution that stretches back many years with history to spare.

Rubin also lamented the absence of his wife Judith, who had passed away some years earlier and was missed at the event by many. When Rubin asked who knew her, at least half the hands in the room were raised high, making her absence that much more palpable. Rubin also stalled his own readings by giving the audience a taste of his wife's work from her book, "Circus Train". It was after this that Rubin began to read his own writing, specifically the work titled "There. Here", which was the piece that the students of Writer's Craft were assigned to read.

Rubin's reading was absolutely astonishing. There is, of course, a large difference between reading a poem and then having someone read it to you and it's another thing entirely to have the author himself read it to you. Rubin read many poems from his book and at a pace all his own. There truly was no rush to his reading, as if he, and by extension we, had all the time in the world to soak up his words.

Anne Panning, the professor for Writer's Craft and head of the Writers Forum, was very pleased with how the event turned out, especially for the anniversary year kickoff. 

"This felt like a homecoming," Panning said. "I learned things that helped me put the pieces of the whole Writer's Forum puzzle together." 

After the reading, Rubin stuck around to sign books for people and talk with them. The audience too seemed to linger for quite some time, as if the lingering relaxation of the reading had rubbed off on them.

 

@drinkyourteagan

stylus@brockport.edu