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The Poorhouse Rag: Calling All Writers

By Lexi Carder

Do you have a creative talent? Let your imagination run wild and turn those ideas into a work of art.

WVU Parkersburg’s Literary Magazine, “The Poorhouse Rag,” is now accepting submissions for the Fall 2020 edition. Submissions of prose, poetry, children’s literature and original artwork are open to WVU Parkersburg students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families from Feb. 2 to May 1 with no entry fees.

This second edition will honor 100 years of women’s suffrage and the college’s emphasis on social justice, the theme of social and political marginalization and the lack of equity in opportunity. Additionally, there will be writing and art competitions for Best Cover Art, Prose, Poetry and Children’s Story. The winner in each division will receive a $50 cash prize, certificate and publication in “The Poorhouse Rag.”

“If you’ve been left out, been denied, been marginalized, if your status according to age, gender, or sexual orientation or economic level has kept you out, we are collecting for anyone who wants to write about that,” Kolankiewicz , a member of the Fine Arts Committee, said.

The original plan was to bring back WVU Parkersburg’s literary magazine called Gambit, but administrators wanted to revamp it by calling it “The Poorhouse Rag” because it “fit with the brand, identified the college as a social justice group and reminds WVU Parkersburg of their origins,” Kolankiewicz said.

The Fine Arts Committee produces the magazine and Poorhouse Week which includes Dr. Reidmiller, Danielle Kelly, Dr. Sandra Kolankiewicz, Dr. Alicia Beeson, Dr. Young and Dr. Woody Wilson. A lot of other faculty members are involved with contributing ideas to the group, but everyone has busy schedules, so the committee operates on a roving leadership basis.

Every year on the first week of October, WVU Parkersburg will sponsor Poorhouse Week. During Poorhouse Week there will be a literary reading, tour, art show and some other type of event, that has yet to be decided, in honor of the suffrage of women. The paintings, writings and other works of art that have been approved by the editors will be presented. Relics under glass, like shoes and kitchen utensils, from the old poorhouse that was burnt down by the state due to liability issues, will also be shown.

The poorhouse was a working farm on the grounds where WVU Parkersburg resides that fed people and helped them gain stability that they didn’t have before, “just like WVU Parkersburg helps students gain the skills they need to move into their adult lives,” Kolankiewicz said. “Furthering the use of the land by allowing people to get launched.”

Previously there was a historical tour of the poorhouse grounds with student and faculty guiding groups but this year, with the help of QR codes, tourists can guide themselves and learn further information from each station where the signs are located. There will also be plays produced from the poems and stories that artists have submitted.

In honor of the people who died at the poorhouse, and are buried in the cemetery, volunteers will plant more crosses for the ones who have lost theirs, clean up garbage, etc., to honor the forgotten individuals and families who came out to this location when times were tough.

The Fine Arts Committee’s goal is to get enough students interested and participating in the magazine to start a student writing group.

If you would like to submit your entry or you are looking for more information, email

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