Submit to Maya 2021!

Submissions for Maya 2021 are open! The deadline for submissions at this time is February 26 2021.

Maya will publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art pieces by Drexel undergraduate students of any discipline. You may submit as many works to as many categories as you want! Please be aware that our staff does review submissions for acceptance, so your works will not be automatically accepted.

As a published contributor, you will receive free copies of our book! At this moment, Maya 2021 may be print or digital; due to the pandemic, our organization will make the call for our book’s medium during winter term depending on the safety of printing and distribution.

As of now, we are NOT offer $100 prizes for 1st place category winners as we have in the past. Our staff will make an announcement about whether or not our budget will allow for these prizes.

Please visit our Submit Your Work page for further instructions! You can email us at with your submissions or any questions.

Submit! Deadline Coming Fast

Last Chance to Submit for our 2020 Edition!

Alright everyone, it’s coming up on that time of the year again! The final deadline for our 2020 edition of Maya Literary Magazine is coming in just four days! That’s right, the deadline is the 10th of this month, so quickly finalize and polish all those beautiful pieces of writing or art you’ve got and send them in!

If you’re new here, welcome! It’s super easy to submit your work to us and we even have a handy little link that you can hit and fill out a short form. Just go to the Submit Your Work tab and follow the form.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Your name
  • Drexel Email
  • Category (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or art)
  • What the medium is for any art
  • Name of the piece
  • and of course the piece itself!

I told you, super easy! Plus if the ease of submitting doesn’t entice you enough, then here is something that just might. The first place winner of each category wins $100 dollars! Awesome, right?!

So go ahead now and submit! Don’t worry about anyone knowing who you are if you’re nervous! All submissions are anonymously reviewed so we don’t know who you are until you get in! If you don’t make it this year, don’t worry about it! We offer feedback on the reasons why if you request it. We don’t just want to publish already great authors and artists, we want to help cultivate up and coming ones too!

If you’ve got any questions about what you can submit or are confused about anything, just shoot us a quick email at and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to share with us! Until next time!


Outreach Chair and Event Coordinator 


Annual Book Release Gala 2018

Maya Literary Magazine is pleased to announce that this year’s Book Release Gala will be held in the Atrium of the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB) on Friday, May 11, 2018, from 7:00-10:00 PM. We are incredibly proud to share our 51st consecutive annual publication with the Drexel community and excited to say that this year marks our largest publication to date! Maya 2018 features 70 individuals who contributed their art, poetry, fiction, and/or non-fiction to this beautiful book, and we cannot wait to celebrate their talent and creativity with all of you at this year’s Gala.

The Annual Book Release Gala is held every year to celebrate our contributors’ talent and published works, but also marks our largest fundraiser of the year. Maya strives to provide copies of our yearly publication to any interested Drexel community members at no cost – we believe in doing all we can to foster a sense of artistic freedom and creative expression on this campus, and that includes creating a welcoming and inclusive community for all Drexel affiliates. Making this dream a reality is a task we struggle to finance every year, and our Gala allows us to fundraise for the following year. In this spirit, we will be hosting a raffle at the Gala consisting of donated merchandise and gift-cards from local businesses in West Philadelphia! The raffle is always a fun portion of our annual Gala and we ask that if you wish to participate, you come to the gala with some spare cash. Additionally, this year we will be selling Maya t-shirts at the event for $15 each, and extra books will be made available to any attendees who would like additional copies for a pay-what-you-wish donation.

The 2018 Book Release Gala will feature a catered dinner with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. We will also be having drinks and dessert, but this year we will not be hosting a cash bar. If you have dietary concerns, please feel free to reach out to our executive staff via The dress code for the event is semi-formal to formal, and there will be a photographer present at the event to capture the magic of the evening.

We request that you please reserve your tickets before the event – any requests for last minute tickets will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Tickets reserved in advance of Monday, April 30th, will be at a lower, discounted “Early Bird” Price. All ticket sales will close Monday, May 7th, at midnight. All Gala attendees MUST reserve a ticket! Tickets are free for our accepted contributors, but you still must reserve a space at the Gala for catering estimates. Tickets can be reserved online at If you have any concerns, please feel free to email us. All are welcome to attend the Gala and there is a reduced price for students! Feel free to bring friends and family with you to celebrate our 51st year!

Again, we look forward to your attendance at our 2018 Book Release Gala! This yearly event is always incredibly inspiring and entertaining, and we look forward to meeting all of our contributors!

Whatever your reason, we want to read it.

Haiku Off: A Time-Honored Maya Tradition

Someone unfamiliar with the annual event may show up expecting a casual, laid-back night of 19-syllable poetry readings. However, should that person dare to attend one of our university-renowned Haiku Offs, they would find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of rapid thinking, whimsical enthusiasm and high-flying pens.

January 29th 2016 saw Maya Literary Magazine put on its 8th annual Haiku Off. Over the course of the event, participants were given four categories and five minutes to write a haiku about each one. This year’s categories were Magic, Space, Dinosaurs and Shenanigans. Three lovely judges evaluated the pieces after each round and chose the winners, which will be published in the 2016 edition of the magazine. Fortunately, you won’t have to wait until publication to read them – we’ve published them below.


Round 1: Magic


1st – Amy Suh7
I don’t want glass shoes
I don’t want magic pumpkins
Just want my Mom back.

2nd – Annie Haftl
[ 5:35pm ]
That deep golden glow,
Sinking into pink mountains –
I swear it’s Magic.

3rd – S James Parsons Jr
Eight Ball guide my choice
Should I study for exams
“Ask again later”

Honorable Mention – Elizabeth Ashley Higgins
Dear Harry Potter
Sir, you are not a wizard
We lied, love Hogwarts


Round 2: Outer Space


1st – Rachel Kangh6.jpg
[ Bowie ]
My dear Major Tom,
Do you still remember me?
I’m Ziggy Stardust.

2nd – Gina Vitale
[ The Final Frontier ]
Look up high, bright eyes –
Shadowed planets, white stars beckon.
Live. Dare. Boldly go.

3rd – Matthew Robinson
The only thing more
beautiful than what is out
there, is what’s in here

Honorable Mention – Elizabeth Ashley Higgins
Dark – mysterious
the Milky Way is okay
But I want snickers



Round 3: Dinosaurs


h3.jpg1st – Annie Haftl
[ My friend the stegosaurus ]
I bet you had spots,
my ancient friend. You’re extinct;
but not in my dreams.

2nd – Gina Vitale
[ the friend I never had ]
Brown-boned skeleton,
petrified for good. I wish
I could have saved you.

3rd – Matthew Napolillo
[ Ripples ]
thump, pause, thump, pause, Thump.
Breath from above. Something smells.
Teeth turn to panic.

Honorable Mention – S James Parsons Jr
Awesome – saurus – Rex
Works lizard lounge bartending
Little short handed



Round 4: Shenanigans

h21st – Bailey Kiersarsky
Setting lizards free,
Flaming hackey sack, ghost hikes:
Summer camp chaos

2nd – Matt Matthew Robinson
Pizza, Haiku, friends
My mom says, “Shenanigans!”
I say, “Study break…”

3rd – Gina Vitale
[ My best friend ]
Laughing ‘til we cried
I would do it all again
But always with you.

Honorable Mention – Matthew Napolillo
[ Batman ]
nananana, nanana


All in all, Haiku off is representative of everything Maya stands for – artistic innovation, spirited competition and meaningful connection. If nothing else, it’s a chance for bookworms and casual writers alike to share a night of utter silliness and flash creativity. Look for the next one to occur in early winter term of 2017. Can’t wait that long? Be sure to check out some of our other events in the meantime – like our Facebook page for updates on upcoming Open Mic Nights, the 2nd Annual Magazine Release Gala, and the Mayan Summer Olmpics.

-Gina Vitale

A Book to Read when you’re Looking for a Shock

During my second time reading Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk (author of the beloved Fight Club and many other popular works including Rant, Lullaby, Diary, Survivor, Pygmy, and many more), I found myself grateful that I was reading it alone in my apartment instead of some public place. I was visibly cringing and jumping in surprise and disgust as I read it, and I was just happy nobody was there to see me.

invisible-monstersIf there’s one thing that Palahniuk always manages to do in his novels, it’s to shock the readers. This shock, I find, comes in multiple forms. Sometimes he’ll detail really gross, grotesque functions of the human body. He’ll detail sex scenes using crude language that makes even the dirtiest of minds feel prude. Often, he’ll make comments about human nature and society, comments that might make you feel a little uncomfortable because he sees the human race for the kind of ugly, greedy, narcissistic bunch that it is. Without fail, his novels come with plot twists that leave you had no idea were coming.

Invisible Monsters, while maybe not the dirtiest of all of his novels, still holds enough of this shock value to make it an amazing, worthwhile read. As one of his more popular novels (it’s in the process of being made into a film, and the song “Time to Dance” by Panic! at the Disco is influenced by this book, with lyrics even ripped from the narrative), it’s a great entrance into the raw world that Palahniuk creates for his readers. One that may or may not have already been intrigued with Fight Club.
4585592391_9cf8943a3a_oThe narrator of Invisible Monsters was once very beautiful, with a career in modeling and an engagement to a handsome detective. She likes to hangout in department stores with her best friend, Evie, playing out scenes in the furniture section to fulfill the part of them that is starved for attention. However, her easy life of being beautiful and seeking attention ends when she is shot while driving her car, and her jaw is blown off. She’s now severely disfigured.

Fast forward a little and she meets the queen Brandy Alexander who renames our narrator Daisy St. Patience. Daisy finds herself on a road trip with Brandy Alexander and a man, whose name Brandy continuously changes, making up new identities for all of them in the process. They’re going to houses up for sale and stealing prescription drugs to steal and sell for money. However, as the novel unfolds, everything becomes a lot more complicated than it looks.

6a00d83451f25369e200e553bc700c8833-800wiInvisible Monsters is the perfect book to read if you want to be shocked. Did you know how surgeons recreate a blown-off jaw with skin from your neck? Palahniuk gives you a lovely mental image to always remember. Did you know what kind of costs being starved for attention will really bring you? Palahniuk shows you in the form of the screwed up characters he creates for his novel.
Do you know what’s actually going on in this novel? No, Palahniuk won’t tell you until it’s too late.

Palahniuk writes awesome stories, and Invisible Monsters is no exception. The narrator and the rest of the characters are intriguing enigmas. The plot is fast-paced, but always jumps back and forth between different timelines so you’re always left wondering what significant each part has. If you’re truly a fan of raw, bleeding stuff that will leave you shocked at what happens, Invisible Monsters is for you.

Sarah Jamack 

Night of the Arts

As Drexel students we go beyond the expectations of average college students. We are creative individuals who deserve to showcase our talents in all mediums of art. That is why the Entertainment and Arts Society (EAS) at Drexel is hosting the Night of the Arts later this month.

It will be the first event where artwork from over one hundred student artists will be displayed in an effort to build artistic relationships between students, faculty, alumni, and industry professionals.  At this event you can expect to see visual artwork, music, theater, and more. The Maya Literary Magazine will also be represented with a place to display our materials at the event, so feel free to stop by and experience the creativity of the written word with us.

noa2    The night will begin with introductory remarks from the president of the EAS, Joy Weir, the faculty advisor, Lawrence Epstein, and the Dean of the Antionette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Allen Sabinson. Following suit will be an a cappella performance by the all male group, 8tothebar.

The event is broken up into three venues. The first venue, the Black Box Theater, will be showcasing live performances from the improve comedy troupe, the Drexel Football Team, as well as the Drexel Players, the Drexel Fanaa, the Drexel Dance Program, The Last Frontier, and RFA.

The second venue is the Screening Room, which will be showing films created by Tristan Santana, Connie Chung, Anna Pruett, Laurel Gabel, and Dan Mosley. When the films are not being screened, the Drexel Flow Arts will be performing.

Finally, the lobby will host visual artwork by Josie Driscoll, Stephen Bell, Prairie Yang, Marissa Fu, and Allison Liu. Caylie Landerville, the 2015 DreX Factor winner, will also be performing in the lobby, and there will be a Chinese Auction with prizes to arts and entertainment events in the Philadelphia area. Finally, there will be various other tables in the lobby that hold information, as well as, complimentary refreshments for the attendees.

noa3               The event will be held on November 20th, 2015 in the URBN Annex of Drexel University located at: 3401 Filbert Street, Philadelphia PA 19104. The tickets will be sold at the door and all guests will be given wristbands to allow easy reentry if they choose to leave the building. General admission will be $5.00, but Drexel students can attend for free. For more information, please visit

In all, come support Drexel University’s Co-op Fund and the Entertainment & Arts Society here at Drexel. It’ll be a night of culture and entertainment and I hope to see you there!

-Sara Nichterlein

The Birth of Maya Literary Magazine

If you’ve spent any time on Drexel’s campus, you may be familiar with the literary magazine known as Maya. We’re a publication that reviews fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art pieces submitted by the undergraduate student body for publication in our magazine. Over the past few years, the magazine has practically doubled in size, and we’ve attempted to match that growth in outreach as well. Maybe you’ve seen our advertisements, maybe you’ve seen our publications, maybe you’ve even submitted something to us. But have you ever wondered where the name came from? What is Maya, anyway? Is it named after Maya Angelou? Or perhaps the ancient Mesoamerican civilization? The answer, I’m afraid, is a little more complicated than that.

It all started in 1967.38924_108069365912934_3079494_n

That was the year that saw the creation of Maya, Drexel’s only undergraduate literary magazine. After some substantial digging, however, I discovered that this statement is really only half true. While 1967 is the first year that the magazine began publishing under the name Maya, it did in fact exist for several years prior – under a different moniker. So, Maya was not so much created in 1967, but rather reinvented – as a continuation of an older magazine with a brand new title. But why?

In the year 1961, a literary publication known as “Gargoyle” was born. Unfortunately, the members of Gargoyle kept very little record of the organization or its proceedings, and it seems that Drexel has few to no copies of their publications. All we really know is that from 1961 to 1966, it was Drexel’s only undergraduate litmag.

However, in 1967, a young student named Norman Auspitz took over as editor of Gargoyle. It was during his leadership that the organization decided that a change of name was in order. Over the past few weeks I have had the remarkable fortune of making contact with several of Maya’s former editors, including Dr. Auspitz himself. When I asked him about the reasoning behind changing the title of the magazine, this is what he told me:

“A number of us felt that the Gargoyle was not getting circulation for a number of reasons. So, we attempted to update the38875_108069215912949_3120533_n publication with a new name, we felt was more indicative of where Drexel had evolved (more departments, a graduate program, etc. than in the past). We also changed the size, the color of the paper, and the color of the ink.”

This is, of course, a perfectly logical explanation. Drexel was a rapidly growing university at the time, much as it is now, and it makes sense that the staffers would want to reach a wider audience. However, it’s entirely possible that there were other factors at play. For instance, around the time of the name change, the Vietnam War had been raging for over a decade and was just beginning to pick up speed. The final 1966 issue of the Gargoyle, according to Maya’s second editor-in-chief, Dr. Ron Wetzel, was incredibly thin. Certainly this could be due to poor outreach on the part of the magazine – but it could also be a direct consequence of the disillusionment felt by so many of the nation’s youth during that wartime era. Perhaps the change in name was intended to be a clean slate, a fresh start for all those once-hopeful young writers who had become too jaded to pick up their pens. This is all just speculation, of course, and we may never definitively know all the reasons for the new name; but I was, to some extent, able to find out where that new name came from.

According to Dr. Auspitz, the magazine was named after an ancient philosophy of the Hindu faith. If you endeavor to research this topic as much as I have of late, you will find a variety of different definitions and interpretations, many of them contradicting each other. The meaning that the Gargoyle staffers intended for the magazine to be associated with, according to Dr. Auspitz himself, is the concept that “all is energy and what we perceive as matter is an illusion, i.e. maya.”

Essentially, staff’s interpretation of this philosophy at the time was that all earthly ties and worldly possessions are simply an illusion – in other words, your spirit is all that matters, and material objects are unnecessary. Maya is the term that encompasses this idea.

In the first ever issue of them magazine under the name Maya, there is a piece entitled “A Maya Sutra,” the first line of GFGFGFGFGFGFwhich reads “Maya is not an illusion. This is presumably a reference to the philosophy after which the magazine was named as well as to the magazine itself. The content of the piece is somewhat confusing, but it is wonderfully written nonetheless. Seeing as it is one of the first pieces published during Maya’s official tenure, I thought it appropriate to include here. As to its meaning, you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

In my endeavors to reconnect with former magazine staff, as I mentioned before, I also had the good fortune of finding the contact information for Maya’s second editor-in-chief, Dr. Ron Wetzel. Dr. Wetzel was not only quick to respond but eager to share with me the details of the magazine, thoroughly corroborating Dr. Auspitz’s claims as to the intended meaning behind the new name. When I asked him if there was anything he’d like to say about his time with the magazine, this was his reply:

“I do believe…that creative writing allows us to exercise a different side of our communication skills and that this exercise has some generic benefit, no matter what kind of writing you do.  So in addition to any other benefits that developing an artistic side might have for the ‘soul’, I think at least in my case there has been great benefit in expanding my writing skills, and Maya really for the first time validated my efforts in creative writing.”

This quote, to me, is a perfect summary of the magazine even as it is today. It is a place where beauty and heart can be 182043_154353481284522_2557786_npoured haphazardly into words and printed neatly on pages, where the vibrantly contrasting colors of original artworks come together with a glossy finish, and where passionate young romantics can pool together the fruits of their imagination to create a little paper haven for all the old souls who come across it. So, even if all the decades of issues of Maya Literary Magazine really are just part of a false construct where material objects are simply lies, know this:

To the people whose lives it touched, it was never just an illusion.

Author’s Note: I would like to thank both Dr. Auspitz and Dr. Wetzel for their generosity in taking the time out of their busy schedules to provide me with so much invaluable information regarding the inception of our beloved litmag. It is incredibly touching to know that former staff members such as themselves still care so wholeheartedly about the magazine even decades after they helped to establish it.

Gina Vitale 

Halloween at Drexel

Halloween is the time of year where people enjoy getting scared and dressing up as creepy, adorable, or downright hilarious characters. It’s also the time for social events comprised of monsters, pumpkins, and of course, candy. Now, while we may not be trick-or-treating anymore, there are still a lot of fun activities happening on Drexel’s campus this October.

On the 30th of this month, Maya Literary Magazine is hosting its own event in the Van Rensselaer ballroom. It’ll be from 7-sara210pm and there will be food, games, and more! Make sure to wear your favorite costume and compete in the games to win awesome prizes. Anyone can come and spend the night in the spooked out ballroom of Van R. It’ll be a great Halloween party right before everyone’s favorite holiday!

Van Rensselaer is truly the place to be this Halloween, because on October 28th or 29th the Van R Project is hosting the Monster Ball for select resident halls. So if you live in Van R, Race, Towers, or Kelly feel free to come. It’s a free event with food, music, and a costume contest, so dress in your cutest, funniest or most ghoulish costume and make your freshman Halloween one you will never forget! The party should last from 6-8pm.

If parties aren’t your thing, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) is also hosting a couple of Halloween themed events this month. On the 24th, from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM they will be taking a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure for Fright Fest. The tickets are $25 each and the bus will be leaving from outside Towers Hall at 11:00 AM.  If you’re interested you can contact CAB through their email,

The CAB is also organizing a trip for the Old City Ghost Tour. It’s a haunted and thrill-filled journey through Old City, so if sara3you like spooky walking tours by candlelight, this is the event for you! It’s on October 29th and the event will focus on historically accurate information combined with myths and popular urban legends. Tickets are $5 per person with student ID and you can visit the CAB Office in MacAlister Hall to purchase them. On the day of the event, participating students will meet at the 34th St. station at 7:00 pm to travel together to Old City. The event is estimated to be about 75-90 minutes long.

If you’re an individual who prefers staying home and watching spooky movies, please consider coming out and supporting Drexel’s Co-Op Theater Company as they present From Beneath it Lurks. It’s directed and created by Adrienne Mackay in collaboration with members of the Co-Op theater company. The production follows a rag tag team of storytellers as they bring to life the monstrous stories that could only be inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s unholy creations. As the flyers seen around campus say, the show will “put the audience right in the very evil that unearths the limits of the human soul.” If you’re interested the shows will take place in the URBN Center Annex Black Box Theater, 3401 Filbert Street on:

October 29 – 8PM
October 30 – 8PM
October 31 – 7PM
October 31 – 10PM
and        November 1 – 2PM

Tickets are $5 for Drexel Students/Faculty and Staff with ID, $10 for Non-Drexel Students, and $15 for General Admission. To purchase tickets please go to

In all, no matter what activities you’re interested in there is something for you this Halloween. So grab some friends, some candy, and your favorite costume accessory and hit the Drexel campus! We hope to see you all at the Maya party on the 30th!

-Sara Nichterlein



Tackling Writer’s Block

tools-to-battle-writers-blockThere are endless possibilities for what you can write and how you can write it. You can create any story in the world, write any poem, explore any kind of unique idea that you have. Any amazing string of words is yours to put together; any fantastic new universe is yours to create. There are no limitations. At least, there’s shouldn’t be. So why does it sometimes feel like there’s absolutely nothing that you can write about? Where are these perceived limitations in your mind coming from? What can you do to combat it?

Writer’s block. The sickness that every writer doesn’t want to catch. I’ve sat in front of the computer for hours, trying to figure out what to write. Where to start. What to make happen next. Do I want to write poetry today? Do I want to start a new short story? What about the fifteen other stories I have that I never finished?

As an English major also involved in organizations that involve writing, I find myself constantly writing. But when I decide to write for something that isn’t a class or an organization, I’m left staring at a blank word document and wondering where to even begin. You’ve probably felt the nervousness from realizing you don’t know what to write, and the frustration when the idea still doesn’t come to you. So what can you do?

I know that free writing, brainstorming, is an easy way to figure out what even to begin writing. My creative writing teacher in high school taught me the trick of sitting with the pen and paper (or at the keyboard) and nonstop writing whatever comes to mind, even if it’s just “I don’t know what to write,” for seven minutes. I have generated some beautiful ideas from brainstorming and free writing before, and I highly recommend them!

writers-blockIf brainstorming doesn’t work, others suggest getting away from the writing and doing something else. “Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem.” Hilary Benton said about what to do when one gets writer’s block. Just make sure you go back to writing, and don’t go somewhere with other people or “other’s people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be.” Take this time when you don’t know what to write to get all of your other chores and obligations over with. Then, you have the rest of the night to get writing done with nothing weighing on your mind that you have to do!

According to Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest, drinking half a glass of water before bed, telling the half-empty glass your aspirations for being a fantastic writer, and then finishing the glass of water the next morning will help you overcome writer’s block. It’s sounds a little silly, but it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

For those who like to be super organized, outlines and flow charts can also help. This can be like insurance for later; if you know what you’re going to write, and in what order, you won’t find yourself stuck thinking, “what next?” However, don’t be afraid of the rigidness of an outline. You’re not married to it. It can always be altered, or even discarded, later on!

If you’re anything like me, it might be hard to get over your perceived audience when you’re writing, which can lead to it being tricky to overcome writer’s block. The most important thing to remember is that what you’re writing right now does not have to be read by anybody until you have edited or rewritten it — or maybe not at all. I know I personally feel freaked out when I’m writing something because all I can imagine is a reader criticizing my writing. This clams me up and I end up unable to write anything at all. I can’t tell you how to get over your own personal hurdles, but personally, I just remember that I’m in control. I’m in control of what is written and I get to control who reads it. And if people think what I write sucks, who cares? You just have to remember that it’s better than being too afraid to write anything at all.

I’ve gotten into dry spells that have lasted an embarrassingly long time. It took switching my primary routine of writing (on a laptop during the daytime) to a new one (writing in a small notebook before bed) for me to find my voice again and start producing things I want to write. Keep a positive mind — your writing career isn’t over, and you will find a way out of this temporary block!

Sarah Jamack

“Oh captain! My Captain!” The 2015 Mayan Summer Olympics

It’s been a while since I saw The Dead Poets Society, a Robbin Williams movie that propagated the importance of literature, and hence love and fraternity. Saturday’s Maya Olympics, the first Maya Event I’ve attended, induced in me, flashbacks from this incredible movie.

Maya Olympics 1

Members teamed up to compete against each other for a host of wittily conceived literary games. Drawing a direct parallel in my mind, to the science students who got together to share their enjoyment of literature, in The Dead Poets Society. Although the fact that there were about fifteen of us present at 12pm on a summer quarter Saturday at Drexel Park, might prove our devotion to be stronger than the kids in the movie.

It started with the slightly simpler stuff – a game involving writing the best haiku from a limited set of words, with several words being sacrificed (eliminated) after each round. With the sun shining bright above their shoulders, and blue and red ribbons dictating their allegiance to either team, the Mayan teammates came together to create skillful witticisms. Then the selected team members stood up and recited the phrases they had come up with, and were judged by an impartial preselected judge, decorated in both blue and red ribbons (a parallel to Robin Williams in the movie). Team allegiance it seemed, didn’t curb one’s ability to appreciate a good play on words.

This was followed by an activity which was bequeathed “The best Shakespearean insults.” The two freshmen in charge of the entire event, including its conception, had taped Shakespearean words/phrases on two distinct poles, about twenty passes away from either team’s turf. In what I perceived to be a witty slight to the notion that creative people tended to have diminished physical prowess, each team member was required to run to their team’s specific pole, select a word/phrase, and run back. This demonstrating both physical and creative prowess by selecting the best word possible to compile their teams insulting Shakespearean sentence. Not only were the teams judged on who compiled the sentence first, but also the best composition. Needless to say, the entire ordeal was delightfully captivating.

Maya Olympics 2
This was followed by a much needed cookie and water break. However, even whilst reenergizing, in what appeared to be an effort to respect the ancient Greek belief that creativity possesses the beholder, instead of being inherited by him or her, the Mayans kept their creative juices flowing. The break time competition was one in which we Mayans held no allegiance to a team, but competed against all their peers, in an exercise of creative mediocrity. “Worst analogy possible” – we dubbed it. Even in her effort towards literary penury, “the dragonfly was as magnificent as a dragon and as flightiest as a fly” exclaimed one student. Maybe the Greeks were right after all.

This was followed by the most complex, and intense competition planned for the day. Following suit from the beloved game of Apples to Apples, the teams wrote down specific choices on a set of blank cue cards, and attempted to match them in the funniest way possible to the prewritten cue cards read aloud by the judge. It was intense, as all our creative efforts were based towards winning an entire bucket full of water balloons. Collecting 6 for every win, and wagering some, hoarding water balloons became the main objective.

Maya Olympics 3

It seemed inevitable that the red team would win. But my comments might be influenced by bias due to my own participation. What we did with the water balloons need not be explained. But a little cheeky pity for the freshman who lost his team points for being the wettest member, was definitely in order.
It was my first event as one of the Mayans, and ironically my last year here. Yet the entire time I felt like one of those school boys in the movie, delving into an appreciation for words, even with my limited understanding of them. Though I must regretfully admit that I do not remember all the names of the Mayans who attended (there were quite a few new ones like me), it seemed we unanimously embodied the aspirations cast by Robbie Williams in his movie. “For the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

For those of you who like art of any sort, you’re doing yourself an injustice if you haven’t seen the movie. For those of you who like art and are at Drexel, you’re probably limiting yourself, like I had, by not becoming a Mayan.

To see more photos, click here!

Theodore Kim