Clark University students are aspiring psychologists, communication specialists, international developers, scientists, educators … and writers.
For students whose passion is the written word, The Worcester Journal provides a public outlet for their prose.
The online magazine, launched in the fall of 2014, gives promising new writers and photographers in Central Massachusetts and beyond an opportunity to produce, edit, publish, and distribute their work in an attractive, professional form. The magazine publishes all types of writing — nonfiction, fiction, essays, reviews, and poetry — but emphasizes thoroughly researched and creatively presented nonfiction pieces.
The Spring 2015 issue features stories by Jeremy Levine ’15, Nick Porcella ’15, Orfa Torres Fermín ’15 and Sasha Kohan ’16. Others who contributed to past issues include Thomas Matthews ’17, Thomas Anania ’16 and Audrey Dolan ’17. Works of student writers from Northeastern University and Bryant University also appear in the spring magazine.
The journal is the brainchild of James Dempsey, M.A. ’78, retired columnist for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, author and professor of literature and writing at WPI. “I always found that students who are exposed to a real-world audience, rather than to a single, often overworked, instructor, [produce] better ideas, more thorough research, and more readable writing,” Dempsey said. He seized the chance to make the Journal a reality when he was offered support from the Judy and Tony King Foundation and the Bancroft School in Worcester, which gives him an office and a physical home for the Journal.
Levine, an English major, serves as the Journal’s assistant contributing editor. He learned about the magazine through faculty and online research. “I wanted to get a little bit more experience with writing and editing, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity,” he said. Matthews is the other contributing editor.
The writers address subjects that interest them — and that they believe will be of interest to readers. “It’s not so much the process of sitting in front of a blank page and saying ‘Golly, what am I going to write about,'” said Levine, who was editor of The Scarlet his senior year. “Instead it’s noticing what you think a lot about. I wrote two pieces this semester, both of which were things that I found myself mulling over in my idle time. Once I realized that I had already put a decent amount of thought into them, it only seemed to make sense to write about it.”
Dempsey said he receives submissions in various stages of completion.
“Some pieces come to me just about finished, others need work, yet others need to be rethought from the very beginning,” he said. “The idea is that we forget about grades and about the teacher-learner paradigm. The [goal is that the] young writer and I are working together to achieve a publishable piece of writing.”
In “Speaking in Tongues,” Fermín, an English major, wrote about something personal: the struggle of constantly switching between her native language, Spanish, and English. She details the confusion when dealing with gestures and social interactions, and describes the difficulty of feeling a true sense of culture.
“By the end of this century, the Latino community will comprise the biggest minority group in the United States,” she writes. “By that time, since the use of Spanish is seldom encouraged, English, and not Spanish will be the mother tongue of most Latinos. This notion creates a problem for Latinos who are caught between two cultures and deal with the complexities of living between two languages on a daily basis.”
The Journal is always accepting new ideas and encourages unique, and original writing. Learn more about the submission process or how to get involved with The Worcester Journal, or email questions to Dempsey.