“Welcome” to first-year creative writers

By MacKenzie Brady

Student Life Editor

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, first-year students were given their first opportunity to read from their creative writing at the annual First-Year Reading.

The First-Year Reading serves as a “welcome” to those first-year students interested in creative writing, providing them with their first of four major opportunities to read their work in front of their peers, faculty, and staff in a setting outside of the classroom. 

Other major opportunities for students to read their creative work is include the recently re-implemented Sophomore/Junior Reading at the beginning of the Spring semester and the Senior Reading at the end of the Spring semester.

Any students for whom this is their first year at WC were able to participate in the First-Year Reading, meaning that sophomores or juniors who just transferred are able to participate alongside freshmen. 

“I think of the First-Year Reading as these writers’ welcoming themselves to the college and reinventing for themselves what the college means to and for them,” said Associate Professor of English and Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House Dr. James Hall, who was the master of ceremonies for the reading. “Other readings — the Sophomore/Junior Reading and the Senior Reading, for instance — are ways to build on the talent and induct younger writers into the community.”

Seven first-years participated in this year’s reading, sharing poetry, an excerpt from a book in the works, and an excerpt from a web comic. They each got about four minutes to read whatever they had prepared. For some, it was something they had been working on for a while, either in a creative writing class or on their own. Others read pieces they had written earlier in the day.

“I love hearing the promise and literary cheering for those who brave to stand up and deliver their imagination,” Dr. Hall said. 

“It is not easy to perform one’s own work, and it takes courage to do it. It’s perhaps the first reading these young writers have ever given to an audience,” he said. 

Liane Beckley, a junior transfer student, participated in the First-Year Reading, sharing two poems. 

“I was surprised by how comfortable I became once I started reading my work. I was extremely nervous beforehand, but once I looked out to the audience and saw so many familiar faces that I knew wanted me to do well my nerves were eased,” Beckley said. 

“I was impressed by the range of genre and subject matter,” she said of what her fellow readers read. “Each person read something that was unique from the person before them.” 

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