English Department engaging UDM campus discussion

The English Department at the University of Detroit Mercy is offering ever-expanding opportunities for students to engage with their love of reading, writing and literary expression. Many of these opportunities and events are open to all Detroit Mercy students, faculty, staff and alumni.  

A recent addition to the events offered by the English Department is its Triptych Series, which is a virtual author series hosted by poet-in-residence, Prof. Stacy Gnall. This event occurs on the third Thursday evening of January, February and March, where incredible poets are invited to read some of their work and engage in conversation with those who can attend. Sessions are held virtually on Zoom.  

Since its beginning in 2023, Triptych has hosted six outstanding authors to come and share their work over the past two years. The most recent speaker was Farnaz Fatemi on March 21.  

“This allows us to welcome writers from all over the country, even in the middle of Michigan winter,department chair and professor Mary-Catherine Harrison said. “Although this year’s series is over, it’s not too early to save the dates for next year. 

An organization on campus that is sponsored by the English Department is the Creative Writing Collective. This organization is unique to campus because it includes students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members. Once a month, members get together to discuss or try out new techniques of creative writing in a positive, supportive and relaxed environment.  

“Several years ago, some English faculty recognized that there were folks at the University who loved to write but who didn’t have access to our creative writing classes,said Professor Nick Rombes when discussing the origins of the Creative Writing Collective.  

Most recently, Gnall and Professor Michael Lauchlan led a discussion on writing about place. There is always time to write during Creative Writing Collective gatherings and the opportunity for members to share their work with each other. 

The most recent event held by the English Department was the Curtis Chin Reading and Conversation on March 26. Chin is a writer, filmmaker, activist and first-generation college grad. He was on campus to talk about his new memoir, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant.  

“I’m looking forward to hearing him speak about what it was like to grow up in Detroit in the 1980s as a gay Chinese American child and teen,” Harrison said. 

An upcoming event that is still able to be attended is the Triptych+1 event, which has become an annual event where student writers from UDM read their work at a local bookstore. This year, Triptych+1 will be held at Pages Bookshop on April 18 at 6:30 p.m. Once again, the department would like to share that everyone is welcome to all events. 

Recently declared English minor Asha George said many of these events offered made her want to declare the minor.  

“It’s also just a great way to connect with more people in my major because I know the events I have been to have led to me forming stronger friendships,George said. “I just feel like it makes class and collaboration more fun when you’re more comfortable with everyone.”