Editor's Note, by Chris Gerben

Plasma Screens as Portals to the World, by Alyssa J. O'Brien

Tutoring Graduate Students in the Writing Center, by John Peterson and Joel Burges

PWR awards outstanding student work with IRAs and OPRAs, compiled by Wendy Goldberg & Chris Gerben

Students Publish Work in New Anthology: Official Book Introduction with Preface by Wendy Goldberg

Stanford Library Honors Boothe Prize Winner in Podcast

PWR Instructors Leaving the Farm


For further proof of PWR’s reach beyond the classroom, a Stanford sophomore named Jessica Cornwell has--with another student and a staff of writers--put together a book of essays entitled, Hello World, which was published near the end of spring quarter 2007. The book is a vehicle for alternative viewpoints, and is intended to provide an outlet for politically alive, alert Stanford students who are writing from progressive perspectives. And although this first edition is impressive on its own, the student editors hope to continue the publication in journal form, soliciting and publishing work from future PWR students. Here, below, is the introduction to the first edition, written by Jessica Cornwell.


H E L L O, W O R L D
For a New Generation


Where do you begin to put words on a page to capture the cacophony we produce everyday–– the shouts, the laughter, the conversations, the bullets and explosions, the symphonies of typing keyboards, the symposium of sounds that build our waking life and run wild in our imaginations? Holdouts of the Cold War, we were born of silent fears, wrapped in a world of red scares and ill-defined menace. Conceived in the darkness of mutually assured destruction, we are a generation driven and derided by madness, riding a cresting wave of built-up, pent-up explosions of intricate political, social and historic battles. We may seem silent, plugged in, tuned out, but underneath the surface, we’re all singing quiet songs of revolution. Now it’s time to dance the song in the streets, to celebrate who we are, to recast the Star-Spangled Banner in our own shapes and sizes, to harmonize from sea to shining sea. We’ve got a song to sing, and the notes are high and throbbing. We’ve found a sparrow song of freedom, a haunting cry, a hungry voice from the dark.


So sing out my America, sing out! Sing to me!
For the lullaby I heard in the womb
has been choked by shrapnel and
there is darkness invading my ivory tower.

I scribble wildly in my diary. Pushing pen to page, I find myself fighting to be writing, while fighting my writing. The very act of creation is war, I think, as politics seep into my nighttime fever frenzy of self-aggrandizing inspiration. Literature is a battleground, a place where ideas meet and transfuse or clash angrily against each other, alliterative alephs, crabby consonants, hard-hitting t-sounds and cracking k-k-k-k. I like the impact of words, the swimming undulations of sound formed on the page, the way a keyboard sings as you click down. I don’t think writing has ever been as tactile, as gently musical, as it has been in the 21st century or as profoundly reflective of the violence that defines our times.

*****


This summer in London, an ex-guerilla and old Thai Communist turned to me and asked candidly about the American University scene in the context of our ‘ever-worsening’ foreign policy. His eyes gleamed at the sight of my youth, what he called my energetic potential. I disappointed him when I answered that there was no student movement on my campus. But Guantanamo! Iraq! Abu Ghraib! The Patriot Act! He cried, appalled, Where is your collective idealism? I, the American ‘Revolutionary,’ had no response. Here was a man who had so profoundly believed in his political ideals that he had taken up weapons to fight in the jungles of Cambodia. As a young intellectual he had chosen to protect the identity of others with his own life. How could I ever compare to that? He could not understand how we had no anti-war activism, no loud complaints about institutionalized racism, or the biases of our politics. The communist shook his head sadly, demanding to know if we were all as speechless as our president. An American friend of mine snapped at this, exclaiming at the table—It is possible to be articulate and American. Our communist apologized then for his frustration, but nobody believed in our ability to speak.

(continued)

- 1 - 2 -