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The Lost Art Of Writing By Hand And The “Pen Community" That Supports It

Dale Penkala

No longer taught in many public schools, cursive writing has become more rare.  In fact, writing by hand in general is declining as more people prefer the speed and convenience of computers and smartphones.  There's a local handwriting expert who still teaches cursive writing in Ann Arbor and has trained with one of the world's top experts on penmanship, living in Brighton, Michigan.
WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Hong Nguyen and Michigan custom penmaker Dale Penkala about the pen community and the enthusiasm for writing by hand.

Cursive writing may be labeled as a "dying art," due to children becoming more adept at typing through modern technology.  In fact, fewer school districts have stopped teaching cursive altogether.

Hong Nguyen, who teaches at Ann Arbor's Honey Creek Community School, still believes cursive writing has artistic value.  She was certified by master penman Michael Sull.  She'll be teaching a seminar at the upcoming Detroit Pen Show on October 20.  For more information on the seminar, click here.

Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Handmade and high-end pens

Speaking of master penmakers, Dale Penkala is among them.  He brought several of his masterfully-made pens, a few of which are seen on the attached photo above.  You can also check out the many other pens he has crafted at the Opus Menchan website.

Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Hong Nguyen and Dale Penkala

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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