The Written Arts Programencourages students to experiment with their own writing in a context sensitive to intellectual, historical, and social realities, and the past and current literary landscapes. Writing so pursued then becomes part of a humanist education, in which the private effort of the writer addresses and becomes part of the world's discourse. It is expected that Written Arts students are also passionate readers.
2020 Written Arts Faculty Reading Series
Why I Chose Bard Written Arts
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Alex Beatty decided on Bard after visiting a literature class taught by Professor Marina Van Zuylen. Once at Bard, he chose to moderate into Written Arts. “I wanted to have the opportunity to focus on my own creative projects.”
Alex BeattyBorn and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Alex Beatty decided on Bard after visiting a literature class taught by Professor Marina Van Zuylen. Once at Bard, he chose to moderate into Written Arts. “I wanted to have the opportunity to focus on my own creative projects.”
After spending the second semester of his first year at Bard College Berlin, he became a double major in Written Arts and German Studies. For his German Studies Senior Project, Alex translated Der Stein von Werder [The Stone of Werder], a novella by the Baltic-German animal behaviorist Jakob von Uexküll. In it, three sisters attempt to uncover the meaning of a semilegible stone inscription. “I was drawn to The Stone by Uexküll’s use of narrative to explain his theory of meaning,” says Alex, “which also figured into my creative Senior Project, Pistacia Atlantica, a novel about stories written in the margins of old books.”
Of translation, Alex says: “As a learning experience, a creative challenge, and a valued service, translation work has allowed me to continue pursuing my interests since graduating Bard while also helping me to grow as a writer. It has also given me the opportunity to travel, last year to Uexküll’s archives in Tartu, Estonia, and later this year to Perth, Australia, where I’ll be presenting my research on Uexküll and his literary legacy.” It has given him the opportunity to translate contemporaries of Uexküll, such as Heine Hediger, whose research on the dreams of animals has been neglected by translators in the past. Alex has also been working with the writer Rivka Galchen, for whom he’s translating testimonies from the 17th-century witch trial of Katharina Kepler.
Alex also works as an administrative assistant at The Robert B. Silvers Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by the late editor of the New York Review of Books to support writers in the fields of reportage and criticism. “It’s had a profound impact on how I think of writing as a career,” Alex says. “Silvers’s legendary work ethic and passion for nuanced writing and the writers with whom I correspond in my capacity as an administrative assistant have been a daily inspiration for me to continue writing. I have never been sure exactly how writing will fit into my future, because it has taken so many unexpected forms since I decided to make it a career, but I look forward to pursuing new opportunities and continuing my projects in fiction, nonfiction, and translation.”
Julie Jarema transferred to Bard from NYU, drawn by its flexible curriculum and eclectic community. She arrived intending to take a critical approach to the study of literature, but a fiction workshop with Porochista Khakpour drew her to Written Arts.
Julie JaremaJulie Jarema transferred to Bard from NYU, drawn by its flexible curriculum and eclectic community. She arrived intending to take a critical approach to the study of literature, but a fiction workshop with Porochista Khakpour drew her to Written Arts.
Julie explains, “I’ve always enjoyed writing and illustrating stories, primarily for children. However, my Senior Project pushed me toward approaching writing in a more absurd, experimental way and taught me that writing for an older audience doesn’t mean that the writing has to lose its playfulness.”
Julie’s project, “The Museum,” is a novel about a rootless girl whose employer, a reclusive author and the owner of an obscure museum, sends her on a scavenger hunt through Manhattan to gather artifacts for a new exhibition. As Mia’s quest draws her into spiraling mysteries of identity and artifact, the roles of the author and the reader become increasingly entangled.
At Bard, Julie’s interests also drew her to French, comparative literature, and the experimental humanities. In addition, during her undergraduate years she served as an editorial assistant at Bard’s literary journal Conjunctions, as an intern with Miriam Altshuler at the literary agency DeFiore & Co., and as a children’s marketing and publicity intern with Simon & Schuster. The last of these led to Simon & Schuster taking her on full-time as a children’s books associate immediately upon her graduation in 2016.