A Good Literary Citizen

Student blogger: Alicia Zuberbier

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs recently posted an article with questions writers should ask themselves. The first was “Are you a good literary citizen?” A citizen of literature isn’t someone who just writes. I cannot skim my transcript and claim citizenship only because I’ve completed my writing major. A hard drive full of poetry just won’t cut it.

A literary citizen is a consumer.  They partake of writing in more ways than just producing it. Thankfully, Milwaukee and Waukesha offer plenty of ways to do so. I personally love attending readings at Boswell Book Company, and Boswell has them all the time. They make authors easily accessible, and it’s a wonderful way to learn about local work. Woodland Pattern also offers readings, and Ex Fabula (out-loud story telling) is a fun way to hear the written word. On an even more local level, the Book Café holds open poetry readings, and Waukesha Reads has plenty of events, from movie screenings to book discussions.

If readings aren’t for you, literary journals are in need of volunteers. Cream City Review in Milwaukee has an internship program where you’ll learn how lit mags function. They always need readers during submission time, as well. Literary citizens subscribe to journals. For the circulation of writing to continue, we should pick up a lit mag now and then.

A literary citizen wants to do more for literature than just write. We need to support small book stores, journals, and other authors. We attend conferences, buy journals, and volunteer time. As good literary citizens, we contribute to the world in the hopes that others will join us and understand just how beautiful the written word can be.

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