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English Senior Lecturer Joseph Ross Angelella Appointed Director of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House

August 02, 2023 English

Photo of bearded man wearing glasses in front of bookshelf

Angelella plans to bring resources, community-building to the undergraduate living and learning program for creative writers.

By Chloe Kim

English Senior Lecturer Joseph Ross Angelella has been appointed the director of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House, a two-year living and learning program focused on creative writing. Writers’ House residents form a close literary community of 50 to 60 undergraduate students who live together, take courses on different genres of creative writing and participate in activities such as colloquia, workshops, retreats and special events.

The author of a novel as well as numerous short stories and screenplays, Angelella has taught at the University of Maryland for ten years, beginning with the Professional Writing Program and later teaching screenwriting and creative writing classes. Angelella was also an undergraduate advisor in the Department of English for three years, in addition to contributing administrative work to help organize and scale up the professional writing minor. He has also taught at the film program at Towson University.

Angelella plans to bring the full breadth of his professional resources and connections to the students of the Writers’ House. Through his relationships, he has lined up a roster of industry peers who have committed to informational Zoom calls, interviews and professional development workshops for the benefit of the students.

“I want to be there to support the students who have made the decision to be professional writers. Once you’ve made that decision, you can’t just go out and get a job at Writers, Inc. So how do you become a professional poet? Well, let me bring someone in and show you how they did it,” Angelella said.

A primary focus for Angelella is building on the existing community infrastructure of the Writers’ House and further encouraging the peer connections that he describes as crucial in fostering writers’ success in their careers. He hopes that the students of the Writers’ House will meet lifelong friends during their program, similar to his own supportive “close inner circle” of writing colleagues he met during his M.F.A. program at Bennington College. He credits his friendships with fellow writers with helping sustain his professional path.

“Having those resources and friends, that’s paramount,” Angelella said. “You’re eventually going to leave and go out into the world and do your own thing, but you’ll still have those relationships. And that pays dividends forever.”