City College’s Literary Journal Takes the Stage

Whether a writer is seeking it or not, there is a degree of anonymity in authorship.

And it takes courage to peek out from behind written pages and share one’s works aloud. Authors find themselves on a stage facing a crowd, a book held in shaking hands, and wondering how they’re going to make it through.

But, for those willing to step away from the shadows and into the spotlight, open mics and reading events can be very rewarding.

“It gives an opportunity to students to share their work in ways that’s more than just on a page,” says Dr. Steve Cirrone, a City College English professor and adviser for the school’s annual literary journal, Susurrus.

“It elates them to be able to share their work on stage,” says Cirrone.

Derek Tollefson, the editor-in-chief of Susurrus, was a contributing author last year. He recalls that he mustered up the courage to read his piece at the release party for the 2013 journal.

“When I read it, it went really well, and I felt great about it,” says Tollefson, a liberal arts major. “I’d never experienced that before in my life, and it was really inspiring.”

The Susurrus staff is very selective when deciding which pieces will be published in the journal, says Cirrone. This year, over 200 submissions were received, and only about 20 percent made it into the final book.

The writers of those stories and poems will have the chance to get onstage at the Susurrus book release party and share their work with attendees.

“After the experience last year, I want to read as much as I can as often as I can,” says Tollefson.

This year, Susurrus contributors will have the opportunity to read new works at a series of open mic events, building up to the release party Saturday, May 10.

There’s one important pre-book release rule, Tollefson says.

“They’re not allowed to read anything that’s been contributed to the book. We’re saving that for the release party,” says Tollefson.

However, there are plenty of Susurrus writers with other works to share. Come show your support, or bring one of your own works to read at these upcoming Susurrus open mic events:

April 10: 7 p.m. @ Sol Collective — 2574 21st St.

May 1: noon–1:30 p.m. @ City College in the quad

Susurrus Book Release Party: May 10: 6-9 p.m. @ City College in the Student Center

See you there.

For more information about Susurrus, see

Originally published in the Express – City College’s student-run newspaper on 4/8/2014.  See the Express article HERE.


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