To kick off Banned Books Week 2023 (Oct. 1 through 7), the Wyomissing Public Library will host a reading, “After the Burning: A Poetic Reflection on Banned Books,” by Susan L. Peña, in its community room, on Monday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. The reading will be followed by an open discussion with the audience.
Susan L. Peña, a journalist and poet, has written six poems about her personal experiences with books that now appear on many banned book lists. Her poems have arisen out of her concern about the removal of books deemed harmful to children and teens from school and public libraries, by some political leaders and parents. Most of these books are by marginalized authors or contain ideas about religion, history, sexual identity and other topics that are contrary to the beliefs of some people. Many of the books are considered classics of American literature, and have won prizes for excellence. For more information on targeted books, visit https://pen.org/report/banned-in-the-usa-state-laws-supercharge-book-suppression-in-schools/.
Peña will read her poems, and several members of the theater community will read passages from the books she mentions in the poems. The presentation will last approximately 30 minutes. Afterwards, audience members are welcome to share their own thoughts about books that have impacted their lives and now appear on the banned book lists. Poets are invited to share any poems they have written about banned books, if time allows.
The American Library Association helped to found Banned Books Week in 1982 as a celebration of the freedom to read. It is a member of the international Banned Books Week Coalition. This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Read.” The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested: email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the library at 610-374-2385. The Wyomissing Public Library is located at 9 Reading Blvd., Wyomissing, PA 19610. Be sure to visit the website at http://www.wyopublib.org/.