Julia Spicher Kasdorf will present a poetry reading from her new collection on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Rieth Recital Hall.

Her book, "Poetry in America," is about poetry in the ordinary aspects of our lives and how people interact with it. Kasdorf transforms the mundane into beautiful phrases.

According to Goshen English professors Beth Martin Birky and Ann Hostetler, Kasdorf's talents go beyond poetry and stretch into her performances, to which she brings energy and dynamism.

"She has a magnetic personality and is a great speaker," said Hostetler. "She writes poetry that inspires others to write."

Much of Kasdorf's poetry and scholarly writing have been influenced by her Mennonite background. Her first collection of poems, the award-winning "Sleeping Preacher," tackles the tension between growing up in a conservative religious family and moving to a city.

Aside from her three collections of poetry, Kasdorf has also written a book and co-edited an anthology of poems.

"I'm excited about bringing in a speaker that is a model for writers," said Martin Birky. "She crosses genres from poetry to scholarly to memoir."

This isn't the first time Kasdorf has been to Goshen College. She studied at the college until she transferred to New York University, where she received her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Kasdorf regularly returns to Goshen for Mennonite writers conferences and presentations.

She now teaches English and women's studies at Pennsylvania State University.