About the Stadler Center

The Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts seeks to foster in a wide and varied audience an appreciation for the diversity and richness of contemporary poetry and other literary arts. We also provide support for writers at various stages of their development.

Our Staff

The staff of the Stadler Center consists of Director and Associate Professor of English Joe Scapellato, Program Manager Andrew Ciotola and an undergraduate program assistant.

Meet our staff

The Stadler Center Steering Committee

The purpose of the steering committee is to support the director in the business and programs of the center; to nurture the relationship between the center and the creative writing program; to assist in the selection of fellows, residents and visiting writers; and to advance the center's reputation in the wider literary world.

The 2023–24 steering committee consists of the following individuals:

  • Joe Scapellato, director and editor of West Branch
  • Andrew Ciotola, program manager and managing editor of West Branch
  • Robert Rosenberg, creative writing program director
  • Katie Hays, associate professor of English

Our History

The idea for the Stadler Center originated in 1985, when professor John Wheatcroft '49, English, proposed a center for poetry that would provide a home for Bucknell's several existing poetry programs. Since the 1950s, Bucknell had been bringing poets of national stature to campus under what was then called The English Department Series of Poetry Readings. In 1977, professors Karl Patten and Robert Love Taylor founded West Branch, then a semiannual magazine publishing poetry and fiction by writers from all over the United States and a related annual two-day poetry festival.

In 1982, Wheatcroft established the poet-in-residence program, which brings a distinguished poet to campus during the spring semester. In 1985, he founded the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, which later became the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. Over the course of its 34-year history, the seminar brought hundreds of emerging poets to Bucknell for summertime reading, writing and study, launching no small number of careers in the art of poetry.

Formally established and dedicated in 1988 with the generous assistance of Bucknell alumnus Jack Stadler '40 and his wife, Ralynn, the Stadler Center for Poetry brought the University's existing poetry programs together under one roof and a central administrative structure. Bucknell Hall, a historic campus building, became the center’s home. A chapel and recital hall in its former life, the hall features an expansive auditorium on its first floor, providing an ideal space for poetry readings. Its basement houses faculty and administrative offices and the Mildred Martin Library & Lounge, which contains a collection of contemporary poetry titles and standard reference works. A major benefactor of the center, Professor Mildred Martin, English, taught modern poetry and fiction at Bucknell for more than 30 years.

At the center’s dedication ceremony, then-president Gary Sojka remarked, "The designation of a particular building for poetry is quite unprecedented on undergraduate American campuses. … It’s impossible to imagine a university of stature that does not have strong programs in poetry. The Stadler Center for Poetry — we hope and have every reason to believe — will contribute not only to the strength of this institution but also to poetry and in a larger sense to our culture."

Ensuing years brought new directors and new programs, including the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing, Stadler Fellowship (1998–2023), the Sojka Visiting Poet Series (1995–2020), the Poetry Path and the Writer-in-Residence program. The Roth Residence, named for Bucknell’s distinguished literary alumnus, Class of 1954, provides an emerging writer four months of writing time to complete a first or second book, without academic obligations. Recently merged with our longstanding poet-in-residence program, the Sojka series is now the Sandra & Gary Sojka Poet-in-Residence program, which brings a poet of national reputation for an extended stay during the academic year. Modeled on the Poet-in-Residence program, the new Writer-in-Residence program hosts an eminent writer of fiction or literary nonfiction for an extended visit.

The Center adopted its current mission statement in 2003, under then-director Shara McCallum:

The Stadler Center for Poetry seeks to foster in a wide and varied audience an appreciation for the diversity and richness of contemporary poetry and the other literary arts. We also provide support for writers at various stages of their development and careers.

During the 2017–18 academic year, the newly formed Stadler Center steering committee, consisting of center staff and creative writing faculty, moved to expand the center’s name to the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts. The new name reflects the center’s long-established and recently increasing support for fiction and literary nonfiction in its series and programs. The name also acknowledges the center’s close relationship and collaboration with the English Department’s creative writing program, with which the center shares Bucknell Hall.

In 2023, the center welcomed the current director, Associate Professor of English and novelist Joe Scapellato. At present, the center is a hive of energy and activity, with students, faculty and visiting writers coming and going at all times of the year. Student and staff literary groups meet regularly in the Mildred Martin Library, which also serves as a venue for meetings, consultations and quiet study. West Branch publishes three print issues per year and three online issues per year, with the assistance of several undergraduate interns. Bucknell students continue to be enriched by the center's readings and residencies and poets and writers from around the country continue to profit from its programs.

Read more about our history

The Mildred Martin Library

The Mildred Martin Poetry Library & Lounge is located in the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts, in the basement of Bucknell Hall. The library functions as a reading room and specializes in books of contemporary poetry as well as materials that enable the study of poetry. While materials in the library do not circulate, the library and lounge are open to the campus community and provide a welcoming space for students, faculty and staff to browse the collection and to congregate.

Learn more about the Mildred Martin Library

Contact Details

Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts