Our New Advisor

The Elizabethtown College HerCampus chapter is a small tight-knit group of students. This spring we brought in a new member. It was a new advisor, Dr. Suzanne Webster a Professor of English in Elizabethtown College’s English department. I along with a group of HerCampus members went to interview her so we could get to know our Professor better. She is a brilliant mind, and is a wonderfully helpful advisor for our club, as she is an adept writer and a wonderful mentor. When we reached out to her for the interview she was more than happy to sit with us.

Our first question was about HerCampus itself.

Have you heard of Hercampus prior to us asking you to be our advisor?

She had heard and perused the website before she became our advisor.

Dr. Webster is a writer and has a book on Coleridge; Body and Soul in Coleridge's Notebooks, 1827-1834: "What is Life?. So we asked her about writing.

What first inspired you to write?

Dr. Webster looked back onto her early school reports. It was obvious that she always had more of an aptitude for English than anything else, really liked to be read to. Thought it was cool to hear people’s imaginative expression, Roald Dahl, Narnia books, used to experiment with writing her own stuff, liked the idea of imaginative writing. But the creative facet was not her cup of tea, she preferred more academic works, especially in context with Coleridge.

When they wanted to know more about her writing, and what her favorite project was.

What was your favorite writing project?

Coleridge’s Notebook and Body and Soul in Coleridge’s notebooks. Dealing with unpublished work that was very exciting. Picked up typewritten transcripts of Coleridge’s works. Working with shit that no one had never really looked at before.

Then we wanted to discuss why she wanted to teach.

How did you know you wanted to teach?

Dr. Webster always had a knack for informing people about stuff even when they didn’t want to know. She enjoys exchanging opinions with people. She eventually worked out that the teaching would be her calling. She officially decided this when she was about 16, and since then she has followed her calling.

What is your favorite subject to teach?

When she first started teaching she was really dismayed that when she started teaching at U Penn she wanted to teach Romanticism and focus on a small section of literature. Her course though had a wider view than she enjoyed.  

Do you prefer teaching poetry or prose?

Dr. Webster enjoys teaching both subjects, she does not typically teach Drama. She is a big fan of Coleridge, and he is who she has spent years studying and did an in-depth analysis of Coleridge’s notebooks.

Knowing she is so well versed, we wanted to ask about some advice, for our future as writers.

Do you have any words of advice for beginning writers and poets?

“Read as much as you can of good writing and good poetry. Look at what’s come before that is admirable, doesn’t matter what it is. You have to read some of the best before you write some yourself.”

This advice is very helpful to follow because she has lived through the experience of writing especially in a professional setting. This advice is some that is heard often, but truly nobody wants to write well without reading other books, and other works to know what to do. Writing is the basis of literacy, but without it, there would be no understanding. It is very important to practice what you do and learn to love it as well. Writing though it may come naturally is not a talent that can be ignored, it must be honed.