Sean Wolff’s journey through creative expression

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The Rowan campus is home to a vast array of creative majors. Students with skills and talents of all kinds are able to express themselves and get degrees in the artistic fields they are passionate about. 

Sean Wolff is a student in this space, originally majoring in English with a focus on creative writing at Stockton University. He then transferred to Rowan during the COVID-19 pandemic. He remained an English major but picked up a minor in writing arts. He is now in Rowan’s MA in writing program. 

Originally starting by writing songs throughout his childhood, Wolff mostly writes poetry. 

“I was never really that great of a singer… so I think I just sort of naturally gravitated towards poetry. I love the way the words sound… how you can, you know, completely connect with another person just through the words that you write. So that’s what really got me into poetry,” said Wolff. 

Though Wolff has been writing for most of his life, he started seriously writing poetry around the same time he had to pick a major, around age 18. “I think I really started to read like actual poets like Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. I had to pick a major, so I was like, alright, I like writing, so I kind of just went that route,” said Wolff. 

Wolff has always arranged his poems into unofficial collections, grouping poems together based on theme, mood, and content. He has sent out one chapbook of about 20 poems for publication, which is a tribute to Emily Dickinson in its emphasis on nature and finding meaning in life. 

Currently, Wolff is working on a collection of poetry titled “Edge of the Avenue.” Poems in the collection will all focus on being queer while living in suburbia and the specific struggles that come along with being LGBT in that particular environment. 

“I wanted to write a collection that was a love letter to the tri-state area. I was born in PA, but I’ve always just been in this area. I wanted to have a grounded setting, and it’s something that not just people from the tri-state area can relate to, so people from like, all over could relate to. So, I grounded the collection by focusing on suburbia,” said Wolff.

The collection will be shown at the symposium the writing arts program has planned for May of next year. He will read and present the collection at the event. After that, he hopes to get the collection officially published.

Wolff pairs his poetry with photography, which gives the writing more context and serves as a visual element that can break up the text.

“I do photography a lot as well… I kind of casually do photography. I definitely take poetry a little bit more seriously, but it’s something that’s always interested me,” said Wolff.

Wolff plans to become a professor and is gaining experience through the MA program as an adjunct professor.

“When it comes to, sort of my teaching philosophy and how I grade, I really look at how much the student has grown and improved throughout the semester, in the work they put in the revision and everything. That’s what I tried to emphasize as a professor, really,” said Wolff. 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email the.whit.arts@gmail.com

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