Gold shines at writing hub event

The Daily Pennsylvanian
September 30, 2004

The Kelly Writers House struck gold yesterday.

Writers and scientists alike gathered at the campus writing hub for a program called "Seven-up on Gold: A Luminous Exploration of the Color Gold" in conjunction with the Esther Klein Gallery's color project.

The program featured distinguished archaeology, geology and literature professors, as well as undergraduate students and even an aspiring 10-year-old poet, all speaking and reading about the color gold.

"The Writers House is at its best when we create a theme that cuts across all the disciplines and areas of knowledge," Faculty Director and founder of Writers House Al Filreis said.

The seven speakers analyzed the beauty, value and atomic structure of gold, with topics ranging from the gold fields of South Africa to the excess of "bling bling" to the Philadelphia Mummers -- a group of men who parade down Market Street in sequins and feathers every New Year's Day to the tune of Oh, Them Golden Slippers.

"Gold and gold imagery and metaphors and literary allusions ... abound in literature," said Tom Devaney, the program coordinator of the Writers House. "Symbolically and otherwise, it's a rich choice. ... In everything from pop culture to high culture, there's gold."

Filreis said he hopes that "people will understand the diversity of approaches to some tired old topic like gold. When people come together from different parts of the University, new topics become fresh."

The event drew people from a spectrum of academic backgrounds.

"It was all that I expected," said Hermann Pfefferkorn, an Earth and Environmental Science professor who spoke about gold geologically and said it was his first time inside the Writers House.

"It was such a diverse display of talent," said Philadelphia local Jessica Behmer, who happened to stumble across the Writers House. There are "so many mixed ideas about gold and what it can mean in your life and throughout history."

This is the first of a series of "seven-up" events which seek to bring together a diverse group of people from across campus on one subject.

At each event, seven guests will each speak for seven minutes each.

"At Writers House, community and collaboration is our gold standard," Devaney said.