On April 3, the Youngstown State University English Department will host its second Words Have Power reading — an event that allows students and faculty to read a piece of literature they find particularly inspiring.
This semester’s Words Have Power event is the first that will feature readings by students.
“The last event was a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty. This time, although some faculty will read, we hope to foreground students’ reading of what they find important or compelling,” Julia Gergits, chair of the YSU English Department, said.
Madison Sudon, an English major, said that Words Have Power brings the English community together and gives students the opportunity to interact with one another.
“We want to create a fun environment where some of our more established students can share something that has inspired them, and the younger students can feel welcome,” she said. “I think it’s important to create a sense of community within the department because it allows students to meet and interact with some of their peers and teachers in a relaxed environment.”
Chris Barzak, an assistant English professor, said that Words Have Power is also an opportunity for students to coincide with one another on how language affects everyday life.
“People get to share their stories and experiences with how language has been effective for them in their lives, studies and scholarships,” Barzak said.
Some of the participating students — Sudon, Bradley Dubos and Craig Marks — are still deciding what they want to read during the event. Sudon said that she is considering a poem by Dean Young or William Shakespeare.
Marks said that he will read his own, original piece. Like Sudon, Marks positively commented on the Words Have Power event.
“I will be reading a comedy piece I have written, titled ‘How to Talk Like a Construction Worker: A Linguistic Field Study,’” Marks said. “I am very grateful to be picked by the professors to read at the event, it means a lot to be considered.
“I think it’s definitely a good thing to include students alongside of professors in this reading, and it serves as a two-way street. Our professors value our work as their students, and we recognize that they are more than just instructors. Coming together to read as students and professors displays that we are all in this field because of our love for literature, or even just our love for words, no matter what stage of academia we are in.”
The Words Have Power event will be held in the DeBartolo Auditorium at 4 p.m.