The act of writing is unique in that it serves as both a practical tool and a form of artistic expression. It is often utilized for the former purpose, but the latter deserves equal recognition — at least, that’s how the Drexel University Department of English and Philosophy feels. That’s why they dedicate one week out of every academic year to the appreciation and analysis of writing in its many forms, more commonly known as the Week of Writing (WoW).
From May 9 to May 13, the Department of English and Philosophy hosted its ninth annual WoW. This year, WoW consisted of a series of events, including marathon readings and panel discussions, many of which took place in the Drexel Bookstore.
“One of the main goals of the Week of Writing is to bring people here so that students hear voices that they don’t normally hear,” Kathleen Volk Miller, co-editor of Painted Bride Quarterly and one of the main organizers of WoW, explained.
The first day of WoW included a couple of two hour chunks devoted to marathon reading, in which students, faculty and guests had the chance to read their work aloud. Some of these individuals are slated to be published in the 2016 edition of the 33rd Anthology, published yearly by the Drexel Publishing Group (DPG).
Also taking place on Monday was a panel entitled “And Beneath Such Quiet: The Elegy in the Modern World.” The panelists, which included Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach of the University of Pennsylvania and fiction writer Cheryl Sucher, offered an analysis of the elegy, the form of poetry dedicated to mourning the deceased.
“They said that basically, as artists, they’re creating a new perspective out of all the pain … they thought that creating art out of pain allowed us to move forward instead of moving back,” Caitlin McLaughlin, media coordinator for Drexel Publishing Group, recounted from the elegy panel.
On the more practical side, a panel regarding occupational opportunities in technical communications took place Tuesday, May 10. “Free Speech: Writers, Campuses, and Words in Conflict,” followed soon after, addressing the controversial topic of the first amendment with regards to writing. That night, at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, “This is Writers Room” brought attendees together for an innovative kind of workshop — one where the attendees design their own discussion.
Wednesday’s topics included the role of writing in healing, writing comedy and the changing quality of television. “Writing About Science” preceded “Legible Pictures: Using Writing with Drawing and Drawing with Writing” to close out Thursday’s events.
“For me it’s about the panelists. Kathy and many of the professors in the English Department have contacts throughout the professional world and they agree to come and share their expert opinions with the students. It’s beautiful,” Marshall Warfield, associate director of the DPG and co-editor of 5027mac, described.
Friday included a morning discussion on sports writing, an iteration of the Painted Bride Quarterly’s interactive writing competition “Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am!,” and readings from contributors to the Maya Literary Magazine.
“If you take a look at the schedule of events, and look at the bios, you might after a while go ‘holy hell, there are some pretty accomplished people here,’” Warfield continued.
More information about this year’s WoW events can be found at www.5027mac.org.