Poetry Is For Everyone: Students Display Their Creative Writing at Rogers Free Library

As part of their Creative Writing Studio class, 麻豆色情片 students from diverse academic disciplines are sharing their poems with the public through the end of May.

By Jordan Durfee 鈥24
Professor Renee Soto stands on the steps in front of the Rogers Free Library with a Creative Writing student on each side of her
Renee Soto, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at 麻豆色情片, in center, with two students in her Poetry Studio course 鈥 sophomores A. Lee, left, and Lourdes Rodriguez 鈥 in front of the Rogers Free Library in downtown Bristol, R.I., where their poetry is displayed.

BRISTOL, R.I. 鈥 A dozen Creative Writing majors and minors are currently displaying their poetry at the Rogers Free Library in downtown Bristol, R.I., in what they are calling a 鈥淲andering Magazine,鈥 an installation that is open to the public.

The project began after Ann Kathrin Weldy, Adult Programming & Outreach Coordinator at the library, asked Renee Soto, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at 麻豆色情片, if her students wanted to share their work with the library for National Poetry Month in April. Soto said she brought the idea to the students in her Poetry Studio course and a dozen volunteered to participate. The installation was originally scheduled to run until the end of April, but it proved so popular, library staff are keeping it up through the end of May.

鈥淧rojects such as this enrich the library and the community in myriad ways. I鈥檓 impressed by the creative spirit of the poetry students, and it鈥檚 valuable for them to have a platform where their work can be discovered and seen. It鈥檚 a real joy to witness patrons and passersby stop to read their words and be inspired,鈥 Weldy said. 鈥淲e always look forward to collaborating with the amazing students and faculty of 麻豆色情片. The university is a treasure in Bristol.鈥

As part of the installation, each student submitted one poem that they were proud of, which library staff hung on the walls in the foyer entryway and throughout the building for library patrons to read as they browse for books. Soto explained that there were no restrictions on the content or style of the poetry submissions, leaving the choice entirely up to the students. Though some of the students may have been inspired by prompts given in class, it was ultimately their decision which poem they wanted to submit, leading to a diverse array of work.

鈥淭he Creative Writing Studio classes are exciting because they are spaces where students emphasize making their own work, and that鈥檚 the most important thing for them as artists,鈥 said Soto. 鈥淭he focus is on developing, reviewing, revising, and 鈥 in many ways 鈥 recreating work so that it鈥檚 ready for an audience. This is perfect because this (installation) at Rogers Free Library is a publication they can put on their r茅sum茅s.鈥

Soto noted that she was surprised by how many students in her class weren鈥檛 Creative Writing or English Literature majors; some are studying Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, History, and Psychology. 鈥淭hey are just taking it for fun,鈥 she said. 鈥淧oetry really is for everyone. It鈥檚 incredible.鈥

Sophomore Lourdes Rodriguez stands in the Rogers Free Library next to her poem "Parasol" which is displayed on the wall
Sophomore Lourdes Rodriguez shows off her poem "Parasol," which is on display at Rogers Free Library.

Sophomore Lourdes Rodriguez, a Computer Science major with a minor in Creative Writing from Woonsocket, R.I., shared that the inspiration for her poem, 鈥淧arasol,鈥 came from a moment in class when her professor said the word during a lecture. 鈥淚t was so weird to me because Spanish is my first language. He said it, and I was sitting in class and my mind was just blown. From there, my brain was like, 鈥榳ait, I gotta write, I gotta write.鈥欌 Rodriguez said that her poems are typically more emotional, but for this project she wanted to challenge herself to write something out of her comfort zone. That challenge produced a poem that was more whimsical and playful in nature. It is also her first poem 鈥 of many, Rodriguez hopes 鈥 to include Spanish words and phrases. 鈥淚'm just really proud of this piece,鈥 she said.

When Rodriguez started at 麻豆色情片, she first majored in Journalism but then switched to Computer Science. Not wanting to let go of writing, she said she decided to incorporate her passion into a minor. Now deciding whether to go into coding for mobile apps or software development, she knows that writing will always be part of her life. 鈥淚t would be great to get published in the future or even just keep writing my poems and short stories for myself,鈥 she said.

sophomore A. Lee stands next to their poem at Rogers Free Library
Sophomore A. Lee stands next to their poem "An Assortment of Nonsensical Meeting Places."

For sophomore A. Lee, an English Literature and Creative Writing double major from Acton, Mass., the inspiration for their poem came from a prompt that Soto brought to the class, which they tweaked to suit their needs, they said. Their poem, titled 鈥淎n Assortment of Nonsensical Meeting Places,鈥 was inspired by their time at summer camp growing up but more specifically by the memories they share with their partner. 鈥淲e have a lot of really fun, really strange memories that I wanted to capture,鈥 said Lee. Snapshots include a moment where Lee got a nosebleed while hiking the Appalachian Mountains, in which the only solution was to shove tampons up their nose, as well as a six-day biking trip. 鈥淚t's a nostalgia-heavy piece, where I am sort of reflecting on all the fun times we had together,鈥 they said.

For both Lee and Rodriguez, this is the first time either of them has shared their writing in such a public format. The Wandering Magazine helped boost Lee鈥檚 confidence as a writer, they said, sharing that they would love to publish a collection of their own work one day.

鈥淚t鈥檚 nerve-wracking, but it means a lot,鈥 Rodriguez said.