Arcadia students share writing tips and styles with students in Philadelphia's Mighty Writers program.
By Alexander Wells '17
When I heard about the collaboration between Arcadia students and Philadelphia’s Mighty Writers, I hardly expected to witness a rap concert in the Fireplace Lounge.
I’d imagined something more like the meet-and-greet I attended earlier in the day, where Lotus, one of the mighty writers, and I compared our favorite types of writing. (We agreed on preferring any kind of fiction.)
She was one of around a dozen young writers from Philadelphia’s Mighty Writers organization who came to Arcadia on Nov. 3 to take part in a meet-and-greet and open mic with Arcadia creative writing students. Founded to support the beleaguered public school system in the Philadelphia area, Mighty Writers partners student writers with published and professional writers with the aim of improving the writing process, fostering enjoyment of the craft, and preparing students for high school or higher education.
“[Mighty Writers] made me be more serious about school,” said Lotus. “It’s helped me learn how to write better.”
At the meet-and-greet, the Mighty Writers asked Arcadia students about university life—and for a few writing tips.
They asked questions on grammar, editing, and differences in writing process, topics that the organization focuses on in workshops, classes, and one-on-one mentorships.
“I thought it would be awesome for our students to not only intern but to collaborate with high school-aged students to help with their writing and understanding of college life,” said Assistant Professor of English Tracey Levine, who organized the collaboration.
Another benefit is that Arcadia students get to feel more connected to the Greater Philadelphia community. Many students would sooner travel abroad than go into Philadelphia, Levine said, and she wants to change the stigma held against the city.
After a brief introduction to flash fiction from Levine, the Mighty Writers created and delivered their own six-word stories, personal moments told in minimalistic fashion.
While the Mighty Writers visit many campuses, Arcadia is the only school to pair the visit with a public reading component, according to Khalia Robinson, program director of Mighty Writers West (which services West Philadelphia; the organization also has one location in North Philly and two in South, one each for English- and Spanish-speakers.)
During the open mic reading in the Fireplace Lounge, the Mighty Writers seemed eager to share their poetry, which ranged from slam to free verse, and they readily stepped up to the stage.
Eventually, even Mighty Writers program directors were reading, reciting, and, yes, rapping.
When the performance was over, everyone in the room cheered and applauded—Arcadia students and Mighty Writers alike—for the impromptu show.