New Creative Writing Project at Morgan - A Big Success!
Morgan High School, Clinton, CT Special Project uses New Authors Journal Author
Eric Bergman a teacher within the English Department at The Morgan School in Clinton, CT. developed a special project where an author from the community is a guest mentor in the school’s creative writing class. This year I was the first author to be a steady presence for ten classes in Mrs. Chausse’s creative writing class. This was also unique due to the pandemic. It gave them a connection to the community. However, being a senior citizen it built an enormous Intergenerational bond between the students and their mentor.
I would read various pieces from my memoir, creative non fiction, flash fiction, various types of poetry, as well as, my travel and food reviews that have been published. Then I would give tips on my process as well as the main features of each style of writing. Ironically, in the spring 2021 issue of New Authors Journal, I had examples of these styles from which to use as examples. Other stories of mine previously published in past issues of New Authors Journal were also used as an integral part of the class.
I was equally inspired by these wonderful young writers, and what they had to say. I told them that as a senior citizen I liked to mentor. I also told them the history of New Authors Journal, and the story of how Mario Farina and his support staff were seniors and their sole mission for publishing NAJ was to help writers get started by publishing their work. A labor of love and a way of mentoring. I convinced them that their work had great bones and could indeed be published. This all happened in Mrs. Chausse’s Creative writing class two mornings a week. The class was split in half, I would read and talk about my process for each style, then under Mrs. Chausse’s direction they would spend the rest of the period writing and polishing their work. We would read the pieces the following week with an evaluation form I developed to help them constructively give feedback to each other after reading.
On the following pages are some examples of poetry the students completed with this special project. I also wrote a tribute poem to the students “Ode to Mrs. Chausse’s Class”. Surprisingly, they wrote one to me as well.
I hope you enjoy the high school junior and seniors work included on the following pages. Many are new writers just starting out as well as some more experienced writers, but to get a glimpse into what their perspective of life is was priceless to me. The project proved to be successful, and built a meaningful outlet for expression in a challenging time in all our lives. So I am happy I will be back in class again in the fall to mentor another group of promising writers.
If you enjoy their work, please go on the the Clinton Poet Laureate Facebook page and make a general comment. They are members, as well as their teachers and will appreciate the feedback. Giving good support and feedback to others is one of the lessons I taught them.
Cathy Weiss, Poet Laureate Town of Clinton, CT