Meeting the Board: Chaakir and Alexandra

Last but definitely not least, we want you to meet our dear Social Media Manager Chaakir Benzina, and our lovely Graphic Designer Alexandra Barbu!

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Meeting the Board: Jeremy and Eda

The second batch of our new editorial board wants to introduce themselves to you. Meet our Final Editor Jeremy Bernard, and our Website Manager Eda Saridogan!

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Writer’s Block Is Looking For Editorial Board Members!

Writer’s Block is looking for fresh, new, enthusiastic, talented, and creative editorial board members! Do you like writing, editing, or do you have any journalistic aspirations? Then join the Writer’s Block editorial board!

What/who is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s Block magazine is the student magazine of the English department at the University of Amsterdam, but we have an international readership and contributors from across the globe. In our magazine, which is released every 3 months, we publish articles, essays, reviews, interviews, short stories, poetry, photography, and artwork. Even though the magazines are published in English, we also encourage students from outside the English department to join our board, so it doesn’t matter if you study astrophysics, law, pedagogy, history, or play the clarinet in the national orchestra – everyone is welcome at Writer’s Block.

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Silkworms and Me – a Love Story

Every year, summer’s first few days of sunshine bring back a wealth of half-forgotten activities and hobbies to our exam-worn lives. Iceboxes and swimming gear are dug up from the hidden reaches of our storage, balconies and gardens become pleasant habitats once more, and we finally remember what sunglasses were for. For some, it means the first of many trips to the beach, to others late evenings in the backyard with a glass of wine, or maybe even a couple of plane rides across the globe. To a select few, however, the taste of summer brings a powerful desire to relive childhood memories and bunker down in their bedroom to breed silkworms like there’s no tomorrow.

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Sex, Drugs & Romanticism

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite”

The Marriage between Heaven and Hell, William Blake, 1793

In 1792, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge came out with their Lyrical Ballads. To many, this particular moment in time marks the beginning of Romanticism, a movement which opposed the rationalism that had been central in the Age of Reason decades earlier. Plays made way for a focus on poetry and prose, in which themes like youthful innocence, a connection to nature, and the confrontational breaking of taboos started to play major roles. Institutions like the church, the government, and even the education system were consistently besieged with heavy critiques, showing the irrationality within the rationality their so-called systems claimed to have. The Romantics attempted to once again enchant the world, to restore its magic, to bring back the supernatural, and to purposefully not answer all the questions life puts forward, but instead display the enjoyment of clueless wonder, in a language anyone could understand. Approximately 150 years later, a new sense of rebellion came along, partially voiced by artists once again embracing the mysteries of life. In a world just struck by war, seeing the rise of feminist marches, civil rights movements and the developing voice of younger generations, the Hippie movement and Rock ‘n Roll soon took over. Paving the way for the mainstream were people like the beat poets, who, during the 50s, started to write about junkies, the lower class, and homosexuals, thereby actively breaking with conventions. Additionally, the language used became more free verse, more direct, and simply more accessible, therefore strongly opposing the rational, almost pretentiously complex texts modernism had put out the years before WO II. Unsurprisingly, the beat poets themselves felt aligned with the romantics of two centuries earlier. Allen Ginsberg even named William Blake as one of his biggest inspirations. In other forms of post-modernist writing, an enchantment of the world once again arose through the humorous existentialism of, for instance, Samuel Beckett and the irrationally mythicized mundane of the Magical Realists. What more do these similarities tell us about that period, and in what ways has it influenced our own?

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