Writers drop pencils, grab mics for Quarterlife

Hanna Ory

This year, instead of throwing their familiar release parties, Quarterlife is holding open mic nights to celebrate the issuing of their publication.  

Though the release parties were popular and widely successful, the Quarterlife staff decided to go in a different direction after Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) changed the student group alcohol policy to discourage campus organizations from serving alcohol at group related functions.  

Instead of having a dry party, Quarterlife decided to try something completely new in hosting open mic events. The first event successfully took place on Friday, Dec. 5.

Sophomore Robin Lewis, member of the Quarterlife selection committee, planned and orchestrated the event.  

“We decided not to have a party again because we did not feel that we could attract a similar crowd without alcohol,” said Lewis.

The open mic event moved the focus of the Quarterlife celebrations away from the party atmosphere.  

Instead, the event gave writers the opportunity to orally express their work to an audience. Anastasia Zamkinos, the head of Quarterlife, was pleased with the success of the event.  

“The open mic was a way to yet again bring together the creative writing community at Whitman,” said Zamkinos.  

The open mic coordinators invited anyone to sign up ahead of time, while strongly encouraging authors published in the most recent Quarterlife to participate. The coordinators received an overwhelming number of responses, which reaffirmed the writing community’s enthusiasm for Quarterlife, but also limited the group in providing a creative, free-form forum.  

“It was kind of unfortunate that so many people signed up because the event turned out to be a little too organized,” said Lewis.  

Despite that, however, the event was successful in bringing together, encouraging and inspiring the Whitman writing community.

“There was someone sitting next to me who was actually so inspired by one of the readings that he took out a pencil and paper and scribbled down an idea; by the time the open mic segment of the event began, he had written a piece and decided to read it aloud to everyone,” said Zamkinos.  

That kind of inspiration and creativity is what Quarterlife seeks to promote with every theme, issue and event they bring to campus.  

Quarterlife uses theme-based writing to provide a starting point from which writers can expand. They strive to focus their publication toward the production side of creativity rather than the exhibition side.

“I think Quarterlife differs from other literary publications in that it is striving to be a little more informal and experimental. We are looking not just for traditional poetry or prose. If writers are inspired to submit haiku or limericks or letters or journalism, we are looking to get different forms of writing in our publication,” said Lewis.

All students are invited to be a part of Quarterlife by submitting to their publication, reading at future open mics, sending them ideas or applying to be on their staff next year. Interested students should contact Anastasia Zamkinos for more information.