Students, faculty share creative writing with peers

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by Jeremy Anderson

Special to the Ledger

For many students, public speaking is the stuff of nightmares, especially if it involves sharing writing of a personal nature. But not for the students and members of the English department faculty who gathered in the Carlsen Center on Wednesday, Oct. 28 to share their creative writing with one another.

It was the second of three readings of creative writing organized by the college’s English department this semester. The department has hosted readings since 2012, and Beth Gulley, English professor and coordinator of this semester’s readings, said Wednesday’s was one of the most well-attended so far.

The readings are “a chance for students to get feedback on their work,” Gulley said.

Twenty-five students and faculty members attended the second reading, forming a large circle in COM 319 and taking advantage of the free coffee and cookies. Several were creative writing students sharing work they’d done for class. Others shared work they’d done on their own time. In all, 13 students and two teachers, Gulley and creative writing instructor Greg Luthi, shared their writing, including poems, short stories and a letter.

“I think the goal of the readings is to give not just students but faculty and staff a forum for reading their own work,” Luthi said. “By reading at some of these readings that we have, you get a chance to have an audience, to get feedback, to get reactions and I think that’s the main purpose.”

Luthi shared two poems. Gulley, who said she has tried to write one poem every day this year, shared five. Student Angela Franklin, who writes and performs under the name “Flowing Goddess,” read a poem called “A Letter from Beauty,” and creative writing student Jonah O’Brien shared a piece titled “Imprecision.”

“I was nervous about reading it,” O’Brien said. “But I was proud of the work, and that’s why I got up and did it.”

O’Brien also attended the first reading of the semester, held in September, and said participating in the first helped him prepare for the second. He also said the feedback he received at the second reading helped him make changes to his work.

“I think it helps students improve with their writing,” he said. “Reading aloud in front of different sorts of groups and demographics, you can learn different things from the audiences’ reactions.”

All students and staff members are welcome to attend the readings, even if they don’t have writing of their own to share.

“I would encourage everyone to come and just see what it’s all about,” Luthi said. “You don’t have to read your own work. Just come and see what it’s all about. You might enjoy it.”

The third reading will take place between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in COM 319. Director of International Education Tom Patterson will host.

For more information, contact Beth Gulley at bgulley@jccc.edu.

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