Sara Pisak

Editor. Poet. Essayist.

I am a MFA and MA graduate of Wilkes University with a BA in English Creative Writing and English Literature. I am an freelance editor and writer who works with various clients on marketing materials for their creative projects, editing manuscripts, and curating content. Primarily, I write book reviews, poetry, and creative nonfiction.


Recently Published


At the beginning of each school year, my Catholic elementary school decorated the stairwells and hallways with new posters. Variations of "Jesus Loves You," "Always Try Your Best" hung on the walls. But one sign that never changed was the one that read "Fallout."

Creative Non-Fiction

A Conversation With Your Ex, Arthritis by Sara Pisak | Creative Non-Fiction | #thesideshow Sara Pisak is a graduate student earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sara participates in the Poetry in Transit Program and is a Region 1 Winner in general column writing from The Society of Professional Journalists. Sara has recently published work in the Deaf Poet Society.

The Deaf Poets Society
Sara Pisak

Sara Pisak is a recent graduate of Wilkes University with a degree in English Literature and English Creative Writing. Sara participates in the Poetry in Transit Program and is a Region 1 Winner in general column writing from The Society of Professional Journalists. Sara was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of two.

Book Reviews

Yes, Poetry
A Review of Nadia Gerassimenko's 'At the Water's Edge' - Yes, Poetry

By Sara Pisak Stylistically, at the water's edge by Nadia Gerassimenko's offers a wide range of poetic forms, including poems inspired by Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and Adrian Lyne's film adaptation of the novel. The chapbook also incorporates found poems from Dylan Farrow's letters to The Ne

A Beautiful Unraveling by Jennifer Patterson Opens Windows to the Soul

A Beautiful Unraveling is the debut collection of poetry by Jennifer Patterson. Patterson's collection is unique in its portrayal of life. Like life itself, A Beautiful Unraveling explores a little bit of everything, ranging from milestone moments to commonplace experiences.

The Beacon
Crime and Punishment: a classic, psychological study

Author's Note: Slight spelling variations of Fyodor Dostoevsky's name appear depending on the editors/translators of Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic Russian text, Crime and Punishment, has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Who does not love interconnected character plots and characters with classic Russian, hard to pronounce, similar...

The Beacon
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A classic for writers and everyone

Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one classic that when read makes readers want to become an author. I was first introduced to the text when a friend of my family and a former teacher of mine gave me the text as a gift. Mrs.

The Beacon
Bossypants: A winning combination of wit and wisdom

Although actress and comedian Tina Fey wrote her National Bestseller Bossypants in 2011, the book finally made its way to the top of my "to read pile" of texts. I had been interested in reading this book for some time, however reading for work and school always seemed to get in the way.

The Beacon
Sum It Up: 1,098 Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective

Sum It Up is an autobiography written by legendary Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt and close friend, journalist, Sally Jenkins. Sum it Up is the remarkable story of Summitt's resiliency, barrier breaking and determination spanning her childhood in Clarksville and Henrietta, Tennessee to her present day triumph in dealing with early onset Alzheimer's.

The Beacon
Moby Dick in Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page

Moby Dick in Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page is the amazing work by artist Matt Kish. The title describes what a reader will find when viewing this work. Kish selects a poignant quote from each page of Moby Dick, the classic work originally composed by Herman Melville in 1851.

The Beacon
Someday, Someday Maybe: Not your typical celebrity book

Someday, Someday Maybe is a "New York Times Bestseller" by Lauren Graham. Graham has been in the news recently as she will reprise her role as Lorelai Gilmore in a limited reunion of the show, Gilmore Girls on Netflix. My friend and I, being obsessed with the show in the early 2000s, resulted in my...

The Beacon
Diaries : Kafka's intense classic still holds true for readers

Although not a new text, Franz Kafka's Diaries is one my favorite works and still commands respect among some of the most talked about literary works. Kafka is one of my favorite authors as I especially enjoy his texts The Trial and The Metamorphosis. One aspect I notice about Diaries is it is often listed...

The Beacon
Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion is an anthology of World War II love stories complied by author Kristina McMorris. With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, it is the perfect read. The anthology features the original work of ten recent best-selling female authors. Some of the stories are the equivalent of a short...

The Beacon
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee

I began the fall semester by publishing two articles for The Beacon discussing the work of Harper Lee. In the articles, I have covered the controversy surrounding Lee's newly published text as well as my own review of her new work, Go Set A Watchman. In the interest of bringing my book review column full...

The Beacon
Suddenly Last Summer: You can cut the tension with a knife

Of all the books I have reviewed for this column, I have never reviewed or analyzed a drama selection. I came close when writing an analysis of T.S. Eliot's famed, Murder In The Cathedral, which can be read as having both elements of a poetic work and of a dramatic work.

The Beacon
Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology

Just having celebrated Veterans Day, the month of November also celebrates "Military Family Month." In addition to remembering those who have served our country, it is also of vital importance to appreciate the sacrifices of the families of active and veteran service members. To commemorate "Military Family Month," I would like to review a recently...

The Beacon
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebook: An icon's secrets revealed

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebook: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making is a wonderful gift for any lover of Christie's work. John Curran, who has splendidly edited Agatha Christie's Secret Notebook, is serving as literary advisor to Agatha Christie's estate. Curran has the monumental task of scouring and editing a total of 73 of Christie's...

The Beacon
Redeployment: Snapshots of war; snapshots of experience

Redeployment is startling from its opening sentence: "We shot dogs" to the moment the metaphorical and the literal smokes clears in the final line, "where the silence, the stillness, would end." Redeployment is a collection of 12 stories composed by Phil Klay. Klay was awarded the National Book Award for this compilation.

The Beacon
Spies of the Balkans: All the intrigue the cover advertises

Spies of the Balkans is the eleventh novel by Alan Furst however, the novel marks my first foray into Alan Furst's writing. Why did I select this Furst novel? I wanted to select a book from the bookstore shelf without background information or a synopsis posted on the back cover.

The Beacon
The Monk: Lewis, 18th century's Stephen King

Halloween is the one time a year we allow ourselves to be scared. Most of us avoid fear the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year. We simply change the channel to avoid the scary movie and we stay within our comfort zone to avoid our own psychological fears.

The Beacon
Elie Wiesel's Night: Mankind's must read text

September 30, 2015 marked the 87th birthday of Nobel Peace Prize and Congressional Gold Medal winning author Elie Wiesel. Night, his most famous work, originally published in 1958 recounts Eliezer (Elie) and his family's imprisonment in the concentration camps known as Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Narrating Wiesel's tale is the teenage version of himself who recalls...

The Beacon
Murder in the Cathedral: Finding the truth

One of the aspects I enjoy most about writing this column each week is rediscovering a classic text. The classic being revived this week is T.S. Eliot's dramatic work Murder in the Cathedral. Eliot, known as a world renowned poet and playwright, takes his talent to a new level in this work.

The Beacon
Jason Heller's "Taft 2012" Review

Jason Heller spins an intricate web of folklore and political commentary in his novel, Taft 2012. If a prospective buyer selected this book from the shelf of their local bookstore, their first thought would be, "Folklore and political commentary do not have anything in common?" The wonderful element about this assumption is contrary to the...

The Beacon
Beasts & Men Review

Curtis Smith's collection of essays entitled Beasts & Men marks the reader's journey into the world of flash fiction. The genre of flash fiction is characterized by essays/short stories consisting of a mere 100 to 1000 words. The author must work to efficiently capture life's most unique moments in an abridged form.

The Beacon
Loving Through Heartsongs

Loving Through Heartsongs, written by 13 year old poet Mattie J. T. Stepanek, was published in 2003. Loving Through Heartsongs is one of those texts that finds itself somewhere between too old to be considered a new release but published recently enough that its place in the literary world has yet to be classified.

The Beacon
The Diary of a Young Girl

As the Nazi Party swept through Holland, a wave of anti-semitic laws were passed which barred hard working individuals of the Jewish faith from owning businesses, practicing law and holding other forms of employment. Hitler began rounding up members of the Jewish community and imprisoning them in concentration camps.

The Beacon
The Yogi Book: "I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said"

Author's Note: Yogi Berra passed away on Sept. 22, 2015 at the age of 90. The month of October is upon us and to each reader October carries unique meanings. For some, the month of October means the arrival of autumn in its entire colorful splendor. For others, October conjures the excitement of Halloween.

The Beacon
Go Set A Watchman: A classic in its own right

Author's Note: Plot details are divulged: Spoiler Alert. I am sure many readers such as myself have been hoping, praying and even begging that Harper Lee would publish a second novel. Lee has only published one work, the literary classic, To Kill A Mockingbird which was first published 55 years ago.

The Beacon
It's All in Your Head Review

Eva Hagberg's text It's All in Your Head is a short novel which I admittedly cannot wrap my mind around. Being perfectly honest with my audience, I have no clear cut opinion of this work. I am used to more of a black and white approach to my opinions surroundings texts.

The Beacon
The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov's 1967 novel, The Master and Margarita can be characterized with many words: classic, satirical, political, offensive, masterpiece, atheistic and countless other contradictory terms. Whatever word selection each unique reader makes, there is always one word that seems to follow The Master and Margarita, controversy.

The Beacon
Wild Review

Cheryl Strayed's autobiographical novel, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is quickly becoming a global sensation. The text, turned screenplay, was nominated for two Oscars at this past Sunday's Academy Awards Ceremony. The movie's acclaim not only stems from the actors' performances but from Strayed's poignant words.

The Beacon
The Beatles: A Hard Day's Write: The Story Behind Every Song

This Sunday television networks will broadcast The 57th Annual Grammy Awards. In celebration of The Grammy Awards, I decided to explore Steve Turner's book, The Beatles: A Hard Day's Write: The Story Behind Every Song. Although, The Beatles do not hold the record for most Grammy Awards of all time as that honor belongs to...

The Beacon
The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2014

As the world has recently celebrated the close of another year, The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2014 is the perfect way for a book-worm to commemorate the transition into a new year of literature. The unique aspect, which The Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2014 offers, is all the works included have been hand-selected...

The Beacon
The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family

Laurence Leamer's 1,000 page biography, The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family traces the lineage of each female member of the Kennedy line from original matriarch Bridget Murphy who settled in Boston in 1849 to the Kennedy women of modern day. Since November 22, 2014 marks the 51st anniversary of President John F....

The Beacon
Vinegar Hill - Then and Now: Feminist Ideas

Vinegar Hill, A. Manette Ansay's debut novel, transports a reader back to the 1970s at the uptick of the feminist movement. Although Ansay has written several novels since Vinegar Hill's publication in 1994, it still remains an important text. I was first introduced to this novel when my creative writing professor recommended that I read...

The Beacon
Bridging classic and contemporary with Katherine Hepburn

Today, I am flashing back to fifth grade when, as a class, we were asked to fill out a survey of consisting questions such as: "What is your favorite television show?" "Who is your favorite actor?" "Who is your favorite actress?" Although I do not remember the answer to other questions asked, the answer to...

The Beacon
The Scarlet Letter- Examining Pop Culture's Love of a Classic

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is an undisputed classic. For generations, the text has been nothing short of required reading. This leads me to ask myself the question, "What is pop culture's obsession with The Scarlet Letter?" A reader may not realize they are pleasantly bombarded by today's modern entertainment industry with references to this...

The Beacon
Humans of New York- Not Just an Online Phenomenon

Even if a reader has only a casual presence in the ever-expanding world of the internet, they have probably heard of Brandon Stanton. Stanton, a Chicago bonds trader turned photographer, is responsible for the craze known as Humans of New York. Patrons of the social media scene flock by the millions to the Humans of...

The Beacon
I Wrote This for You- A Unique Photographic and Poetic Journey.

I Wrote This for You combines the elements of photography and poetry into one collection by a person with the peculiar name "Please Find This". Speaking to an individual the author has lost, each page contains a photograph captioned with poetic verse. These photographs and captions are divided into four separate chapters: Sun, Moon, Stars...

The Beacon
Looking for Alaska- Continuing the Coming of Age Tradition

With all the buzz surrounding John Green's novel, The Fault in Our Stars, I decided to examine some of his other published works of fiction. I borrowed a friend's copy of Green's novel, Looking for Alaska and quickly became engrossed in the novel. From the start of the text one thing becomes clear; this book...

The Beacon
Lessons Learned While Reading, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

There are few authors that are celebrated throughout their lives and even fewer celebrated after their departure from this earth. Maya Angelou's untimely passing on May 28, 2014 leaves a gaping hole in the literary world. Angelou leaves behind a wealth of life lessons that will span generations.

Opinion Pieces

The Beacon
Thank you for all of the opportunities

As I am laying out my final edition of The Beacon, I feel the need to write one of the longest but most well deserved thank you notes. I figure if Jimmy Fallon can write out thank you notes, I can too. Thank you to the readers who have made writing my weekly book reviews...

The Beacon
Black History Month: Bridging the Historical Past with Year-Long Equality

February marks the observance of Black History Month. In an effort to honor the historical significance of the month, I also wanted to create a discussion which centered on year-long inclusion and equality. Essentially, I'm asking: Can society work toward racial equality that builds on the inclusion and education found in Black History Month?

The Beacon
Risk vs reward: The Story of YouTube Challenges

If you have watched the news recently, viewed social media, listened to the radio or read a newspaper, you probably have seen the latest headlines of a teenage boy who required major surgery for a serious head injury after taking part in a "YouTube Challenge." Many popular news outlets such as CNN and Buzzfeed reported...

The Beacon
Jones' statements prove ignorance is not bliss

It was difficult to avoid Greg Hardy and Jerry Jones in the news these past few weeks and the startling images and troubling words surrounding their story are "assaulting." The attention stems from Greg Hardy allegedly assaulting his then girlfriend Nicole Holder. The assault, which is described in official court records, can be summarized...

The Beacon
Celebrating Veterans Day -Shining a light on often ignored veterans' issues

In honor of Veterans Day this column is dedicated to every past and present soldier especially those who are lacking a voice for self-advocacy. A recent National Geographic cover story reads: "Healing Our Soldiers: Unlocking the Secrets of Traumatic Brain Injuries." I thought I was well-informed on national issues however, this article by Caroline Alexander...

The Beacon
Go Set A Watchman: The media missed the mark

Author's Note: Plot details are divulged: Spoiler Alert. July 14, 2015 marked a historic day for the literary world as Harper Lee released her first new text in 55 years, Go Set A Watchman. Instead of celebrating this gift to the literary community, most media outlets have focused solely on one aspect of the text....

The Beacon
Women's Recognition in Literature

Recently Esquire magazine released a list entitled "The 80 Books Every Man Should Read." This comes as no surprise since Esquire is a publication geared towards a predominantly male audience. My love of books urged me to read through the list and found included the following texts: Deliverance (James Dickey), The Things They Carried (Tim...

The Beacon
Rear Window's Re-Release

On March 22nd and March 25th Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window will be re-released in theaters. The 1954 classic follows photojournalist L.B. Jefferies, who after an accident is wheelchair bound. Confined to his apartment in a wheelchair, Jefferies uses a pair of binoculars to break-up the monotony of his day.

The Beacon
Highlights of Humanities

On November 6, 2014, I was able to return my alma mater, Marian Catholic High School in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. The one thing I love about graduating from a small, close-knit high school is that you always have an open invitation to return. In fact, it is as if you never left.

News Stories

The Beacon
Emanuel hosts writer's workshop; advice to aspiring publishers

After serving as a guest speaker, Lynn Emanuel also spent time speaking to students one on one during a writer's workshop. Emanuel answered questions about her experience as a writer and her career as an educator. As for when Emanuel knew she would pursue a career as an author, she expressed, as an undergraduate in...

The Beacon
Klay holds public reading: "Bodies," "Ten Clicks South;" Q & A

A public reading by Phil Klay held in the Henry Student Ballroom at 7 p.m. on February 10, 2014 offered fans not affiliated with Wilkes University the opportunity to hear Phil Klay read two of his short stories: "Bodies" and "Ten Clicks South." Klay's narration adjusted with each story, filling the audience with varying accents...

The Beacon
National Book Award winner, Phil Klay lecture

2014 National Book Award winner for Fiction, Phil Klay, visited the campus on Feb. 10, as part of the Spring Writers Series, an English Department event sponsored by the Allan Hamilton Dickson Fund. Klay, a Marine Corps Veteran, is gaining national attention and honors for his recent collection of fictional short stories, entitled Redeployment.

The Beacon
A "dash" abroad; Anthony visits Sweden, presents paper

Dr. Mischelle Anthony, a Wilkes University English professor, has a class attendance record that few of her students or her colleagues share. Anthony proudly stated, "I have only ever missed one class as both a student and a professor." This exceptional record is now broken but with good reason as Anthony has recently returned from...

The Beacon
Mid-term election results; historic

If you were one of the many eligible Americans who voted in this November's election then you probably watched the results roll in on election night. The voters made their voices heard as the majority of the states turned from blue to red and the Republic party surpassed the Democratic controlled Senate.

The Beacon
Screening of "Girl Rising" to be Held at Wilkes

On Nov. 3, the Wilkes University Women's and Gender Studies Department will be hosting a screening of the film, Girl Rising. The film, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins and narrated by Hollywood elite, will be viewed at 4:00 p.m. in the Henry Student Ballroom.

Visual Poetry