Experienced raconteurs, fledgling story-tellers, and “potential writers” are invited to bring their work to the student-led literary group, the Wroundtable, for casual review and feedback on Saturday nights at 6:00 p.m. in Brock’s second lobby.
Visitors are encouraged to bring a few copies of their pieces to pass around for peer-editing and all genres, from poetry to screenwriting, are welcome at the table.
“We have the Thorn poetry night and we have the Writing Center. This falls basically halfway between the two,” said Joseph Klingman, English major and Wroundtable founder.
“It’s very informal, it’s peer-led, and yet, it’s focused on the improvement of our writing and the improvement of ourselves as writers.”
Klingman was an editor of the Kilgore Review, Pensacola State University’s literary and art magazine, before he transferred to Covenant. Every so often, the Kilgore staff would gather together to exchange their own pieces for an informal editing session. These meetings were a major impetus for what would become the Wroundtable.
“I really enjoyed it, and that’s how I got published for the first time,” Klingman said. “That experience I wanted to bring here.”
While he was somewhat inspired by Covenant’s Writing Center, he says that the weekly workshop is distinguished by a much more conversational atmosphere. Students share their work to improve their craft, not their grades.
Academic papers will not be accepted for review unless the writer is expanding upon the assignment at his or her own leisure.
Klingman says that he chose the title “Wroundtable” to refer to the axiom “there is no head of the table.” He builds upon the allusion by promoting an environment in which “the pen fares better than the sword,” and, in the words of Proverbs 27:17, “iron sharpens iron.”
“Trust and respect are the two pillars this group is built on,” says Klingman.
New members are expected to have “a willingness to trust other people and a willingness to respect other people and their opinions on your piece.”
Reviewers must learn to appreciate the myriad perspectives expressed through a work regardless of the author’s experience or the mechanics of the medium. “We operate on a level playing field in that each of us enjoys writing and wants to pursue it as an art and skill,” he says.
First-time visitor Peter Codington said he was attracted to the Wroundtable not only because of the opportunity provided to hone his writing skills, but the group’s egalitarian nature.
“I love the idea of meeting and discussing better writing techniques. I hope to gain insight as well as to share insight, if I can,” he says.
As for the future of the Wroundtable, Klingman hopes that the group will grow in number, but “doesn’t like the idea of it becoming an official club instead of an underground thing.
It’s more approachable if it is advertised as a solely student led group. If it’s a club, you feel obligated. If it’s just a group of people hanging out, that obligation disappears.”
Accessibility certainly seems to be an attractive hallmark of the group, and a value that Klingman wants the group to maintain no matter how large the group becomes.
“I want to invite those who may not see themselves as innate writers,” he says.
“Everyone writes or everyone wants to write, and when operating on that assumption, the group is open to more than those who do write and far more than those who consider themselves as writers.”