By Nina Tabios
Who, what, when, where, and why—as writers, journalists are taught to stick to the cold, hard facts. Poets and their poems, however, live on the other end of the spectrum, embracing rhythm and style within a figurative language.
The two can feel like completely different disciplines but in a recent online workshop led by Fashion Journalism Coordinator Elena Eberhard, aspiring student editors, writers, and content creators from the School of Fashion learned it’s possible to embrace both.
“Poetry is very often advised by our instructors to the students as a way of expanding their vocabulary,” Eberhard said. “We give all sorts of creative writing tips for our students and reading poetry is how they can encounter new words that help them form descriptions for scenes, events, people, characters, and so forth.”
The Poetry in Journalism event, which was held on August 6, stirred an enlightening discussion between Eberhard and fashion journalism instructors Josh Walker, Diane Dorrans Saeks, Alexey Tumbul Bulokhov, and Flora Tsapovsky. For these professional writers and cultural commentators, poetry and journalism work hand-in-hand to capture the zeitgeist.
“Fashion journalism is that curious hybrid of reporting, accuracy, and fact-checking but at the same time, the entertaining aspect and cool factor is very important as well,” Eberhard said. “We’re writing about creative personalities, we’re writing about events where artistic content is presented so we have to come up with those vivid descriptions that immerse the reader.”
Jannely Espinal, a fashion journalism 2019 M.A. graduate, tuned into the workshop from Miami, Florida. A freelance writer with bylines in Latinx publications such as ¡Hola! USA and Latina Watch, Espinal said the Poetry in Journalism workshop opened her eyes to a new perspective on writing stories and coverage.
“I’m not really into using flowery language, but now when you put a different language to it, different word diction, it paints a different picture, it makes it more interesting,” Espinal said. “As a writer, I think it’s very important to develop your unique voice. When I read an article from [Washington Post fashion editor] Robin Givhan, I can tell her humor with certain fashion and politics. I really enjoy when writers add a bit of their personality into their work.
The Poetry in Journalism workshop is available to watch in its entirety below. For news on the latest Fashion Journalism workshops, follow the Fashion Journalism program on Instagram at @academyufashionmedia.