By: Katelyn Norris
“The pen is mightier than the sword” is a classic phrase we’ve all heard. Students at Bellarmine University might finally confirm the adage is true.
The university will soon welcome Pen and Sword Open Mic Club as the latest addition to Bellarmine’s 80-plus RSOs.
Pen and Sword will offer open mic events with the opportunity for students to share their literary creations. The organization is the creation of Ariana Alvarado and Nicola Peck, who are experiencing their first year at Bellarmine.
Alvarado said they plan for the organization to meet twice a month on alternating weeks.
The duo said they are working to become an official RSO on campus. Alvarado said they are looking for advisers for Pen and Sword as well.
Peck said there will be workshops in addition to the open mics. Alvarado said they thought the workshops would be a great idea to keep people interested even if they weren’t comfortable sharing their work.
“I had been writing for five or six years and I was still scared but I didn’t want our club to be a competition and make people think they had to always bring their A-game,” Alvarado said.
Alvarado said Pen and Sword will offer a wide variety of workshops. The duo said it’s their hope these workshops will incorporate a range of literary mediums, including poetry, short stories and screenplays.
Alvarado said it would be ideal for their workshops to cover learning how to write well in different mediums and brainstorming about the writing process.
“We’ll have published authors, Bellarmine faculty and people who have potentially written screenplays so people who know what they are doing,” Peck said, “We really want them to be able to present their writing process and maybe we’ll have a how-to-get-published workshop.”
Alvarado frequented poetry slams within the Louisville community before Covid-19. She said she was very upset when the pandemic cancelled all the events for the rest of the year and this is where the creation of Pen and Sword began.
“I wanted to be able to do that performative aspect, even if it’s not competitive. I was like ‘Well, why don’t I just do it at Bellarmine and I’ll be able to find people who have the same passion for performative writing?’” Alvarado said.
Alvarado said the main goal of Pen and Sword is to create a community for people to express themselves and their art.
“I want to create a literary space here at Bellarmine. There are a lot of different clubs for different interests that are already established, but I wanted a community,” Alvarado said.
Peck had different motivations when it came to creating Pen and Sword. She said she thought she would be able to assist Alvarado in implementing her ideas.
“I was looking for a friend. This was the beginning of the year, so I’m trying to figure out how to make friends and this seemed like an opportunity to pursue that,” Peck said. “She [Alvarado] could really bring out the creative side, and I could make sure we had a vision and were more organized.”
Senior Jameelah Lockhart is one of the students who hopes to join Pen and Sword. Lockhart is excited to get her creativity flowing again and hopes the open mics will help with that.
“The open mics will hopefully help me gain my confidence back. I haven’t been writing a lot lately, so I want to start writing again,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart said she is happy the art of writing is finally getting a club all its own at Bellarmine.
“I always wanted to start an open mic of some sort, but I never knew where to start. But I am happy we have this now,” Lockhart said.
Alvarado and Peck have set a few large goals for Pen and Sword. Alvarado said it’s her “ultimate goal” to have a Button Poetry poet at one the workshops before she is a senior.
Lockhart has a goal for the club, too. She wants it to be a place where writers new and old can feel comfortable sharing their writing.
“I hope people aren’t afraid to give it a try and get out their comfort zone to present their work to us,” Lockhart said.
Another goal for the duo is to transition slowly into a competitive open mic, similar to the poetry slams Alvarado participated in. However, Peck said they still want the open mics to be a personal event for people to share their private creations.
“Open mics are very cathartic, and sharing things that are very personal can be very good moments of reflection in a safe space,” Peck said.