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Volume I: Cabrini University


Letter from the Editor, Ally Butler


For the 2017 volume, all content is working towards the goal of representation and resistance within our respective publications and the literary community as a whole. We hope that this pieces inspire you to explore marginalized voices and various means of challenging the damaging ideologies that exist in today's society. 

I feel very lucking to be creating the pilot issue of The FUSE Box for my honors project at Bowling Green State University. FUSE has helped shape me as a literary community member during my undergraduate experience, and The FUSE Box is my final hurrah, the gift my poor-college-student self can give back to this organization. I hope your time with this publication finds you well and that, if you or someone you know is an undergraduate editor looking to make the most out of their four or so years of higher education, you may consider joining the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors.

So please, stay a while and soak in the energy of young writers and editors working to define themselves within today's hectic, polarizing climate. And if you take away one thing, let it be these wise words of our 2017 keynote speaker, Martin Espada: "Never pretend / to be a unicorn / by sticking a plunger on your head.”

Thank you,

Ally Butler

"There's this idea that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror.  And what I've always thought isn't that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. It's that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves."

Junot Diaz

2017 Creative Works

Red and Blue

So as red lines the streets of dead dreams Where life flows down the gutter drain


2017 Reflections

The most inspiring aspect of this conference was being able to hear the incredible writing of my fellow peers at the open mics. We are a very tight-knit team at Widener and we’ve gotten to know each other not only as people, but also as writers. It was amazing to hear from the talented students at other universities and colleges who are brave enough to read personal or vulnerable pieces of work to a room filled with strangers that share the same passion. This conference allowed for so many opportunities to generate pieces as well as reading them. Between those who shared during Martín Espada’s workshop and those who read during the two-hour open mic, I’ve become so impressed and inspired by those around me. It’s a true testament to why we do what we do. As writers, we aim to inspire, move others, express a given voice, and potentially make a difference with the stories we tell. Listening to the students I’ve gotten to meet and work with over the course of three days, it’s easy to tell that we’re on that path. I’ve never felt such a part of such a talented community.

Carlie Sisco, Widener University

2017 Guest Speaker

Guest Speaker


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About Espada

Called by Sandra Cisneros "the Pablo Neruda of North American authors," Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1957. He has received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His 2006 collection, The Republic of Poetry, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

More information on Espada can be found at

Espada at FUSE

Poet and activist Martín Espada kicked off the conference with a captivating reading of his poems, which “explore the immigrant and working class experience.” He read passionate poems from his published works as well as moving poetry in response to today’s political climate.

Espada also hosted a master class on satirical poetry, where he read examples from Marge Piercy, Ernesto Cardenal, Jack Agüeros, and John Millington Synge before encouraging students to write and present their own satirical poetry from what they learned.

"Espada's masterclass was just incredible; you could feel the energy in the room as everyone spent time writing up pieces that perhaps might be outside their comfort zone. One after another, amazing pieces flooded the room. It was the guidance of Espada and the energy of the room that lead me to write a piece that I personally feel is incredible. I learned new methods of resistance through poetry and feel like I will be using this information much more in the future."

Michelle Chavez, Cedar Crest College

"I see the poets, who will write the songs of insurrection generations unborn will read or hear a century from now, words that make them wonder how we could have lived or died this way..."

Conf pan

2017 FUSE Conference Presentations

Editorial Discussions

KLIO: Connecting Far-Flung Groups to Form a Creative Arts Constellation at Penn State

Varshini Chellapilla, Penn State University

Sydney Herdle, Penn State University

The Voices of Oxcart: Fostering Literary Citizenship

Hannah Hawkins, Adrian College

Rachel Kanaziz, Adrian College

Natalie Dunn, Adrian College

Theresa Horowitz, Adrian College

Making an Editorial Policy from Start to (Almost) Finish

Michelle Chavez, Cedar Crest College

Rachel Wielgopolski, Cedar Crest College

Editor and Contributor Relationships

Lily Codera, SUNY Geneseo

Meghan Fellows, SUNY Geneseo

The Challenges of Creating an Inclusive and/or Disruptive Publication

Madeline Pulino, Rosemont College

Stacy Wong, Rosemont College

Janoah Wright, Rosemont College

Creative Workshops

Using Documentary Theater to Craft Monologues of Resistance

Jennifer Rohrbach, Widener University

Caroline Sisco, Widener University

Nicole Gray, Widener University

Feminist Short Shorts

Hope Martin, Susquehanna University

Rachel Pietrewicz, Susquehanna University

Hannah Phillips, Susquehanna University

Where I'm From: Resisting and Representing through Identity

Hope Martin, Susquehanna University

Rachel Pietrewicz, Susquehanna University

Hannah Phillips, Susquehanna University

What If Trump Were a Warlock?: Writing a 2017 Allegory

Ally Butler, Bowling Green State University

Shay Carroll, Bowling Green State University

Finding Your Voice

Katherine Castillo, UCLA

Jodi Scott Elliott, UCLA

Erika Salazar, UCLA

Defining Your America

Isabel Owen, SUNY Geneseo

Elizabeth Pellegrino, SUNY Geneseo

Using Performance Poetry to Reclaim Your Identity

Jessica Ram, Susquehanna University

Mitchell Roshannon, Susquehanna University

James Hoon, Susquehanna University

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