Creative Writing Club Wordsmiths Writes a New Chapter – THE EXPONENT

Baldwin Wallace’s creative writing club, Wordsmiths, is making a comeback this semester after a two-year hiatus.

Wordsmiths is a club that focuses on forming a community among students who have an interest in writing. Students are encouraged to share their writing with the group, and they will be given criticisms from their peers on what is good and what can improve.

The club is headed by a leadership board comprised of only first-year students and they are supervised by Michael Garriga, associate professor of English.

Garriga, who founded Wordsmiths in 2012, said that the club had to be put on hiatus because “it’s supposed to be a joyful club where we all appreciate each other’s work,” which was very hard to accomplish when the pandemic forced Baldwin Wallace to shut down-in-person events. Since then, Garriga was not motivated to bring the club back.

Matthew Varney, a first-year student with an undeclared major, heard that the club had been put on hold since the pandemic and was inspired to meet with Garriga to discuss possibly restarting the club. With the previous president about to graduate, Garriga found this was a perfect opportunity to give a fresh take to the club.

“I don’t think I would have done it without [Varney] at all,” Garriga said. “I think it’s going to be more fun this go around.”

However, with new leadership comes new changes. Previously, to be a member of Wordsmiths a student had to attend a certain number of meetings and turn in work prior to meetings. Starting this semester, to be a member of Wordsmiths students must simply attend any of the meetings.

“When we all heard about it, it was the casual creative writing club,” Varney said. “You can bring in your work whenever and ask people who are roaming around [for feedback]or you can just come and write anything.”

Gianna Somrak, another member of the leadership board, is a first-year creative writing and psychology double major. Despite her field of study, she stresses that students do not need to major in English or creative writing to be part of this club.

“You don’t have to be this avid published writer,” Somrak said. “You just have to have an interest for writing and an interest for wanting to be around other people who also like writing.”

The new leaders plan to keep the focus of Wordsmiths on students sharing work and being criticized by their peers, but they also are also planning to include some engaging writing activities during their meetings. These may include writing workshops, live writing sessions and writing with certain prompts. They have also discussed the possibility of hosting a Poetry Café where students can read and listen to poetry.

Because all the members of the leadership board are first-years, they want the club to grow and improve with time.

“I really encourage people to come give us their ideas because we want to make the club as good as we can get it,” Varney said.

Wordsmiths meets bi-monthly on Wednesdays at 3:15 pm in Martin 114. All are welcome to join, no matter their major or year. E-mail [email protected] for more information.

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