Literary journal sees “Shades of Blue”

By: Christian Todd

Assistant News and Opinions Editor

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“Blackberry Winter,” the creative writing journal of Rochester College, will be publishing a new edition this spring entitled “Shades of Blue.”

The publication, which is being produced by a one-hour Creative Writing workshop, accepted submissions until Feb. 7, and several writers, both RC students and people outside the campus community, have submitted their work. More than 30 pieces varying in genre, length and tone were submitted.

Students in the Creative Writing class will determine which works will be published in the new edition of “Blackberry Winter,” which has been published at RC since 2004. Two former RC English professors, Jennifer Hamilton and Pamela Light, founded the journal  to showcase the best that RC has to offer when it comes to creative writing and to allow constructive criticism to help improve a student’s writing.

One of the most important elements of “Blackberry Winter” is that the people who participate in the class are the ones who decide which stories should be in the publication. The people in the class read and talk with one another about their writings and of those that were submitted.

Cassandra Brown, who teaches the Creative Writing course, says she likes getting to know students and their writing.  “I like to hear opinions on things and what [their] thoughts are,” she said. Students in the class bring in their own works to read aloud to others. These evenings, known as workshops, allow the writers to share what they have written, whether it is a short story or a poem. While the person reads his or her works, everyone else writes down notes on any positive or negative elements of the piece. After the reading, the listeners ask questions about why the writer made certain choices and offer suggestions for improvement.

Nolin Bradley, freshman English major, said he appreciates the constructive criticism. “I think they’re really in depth. I like that they looked at the structural elements, like the technical part of the writing and also some thematic parts of the story.”

The process offers students freedom to craft their own short stories or poems. “I started doing more poetry, and poetry has stuck with me throughout. I do write some prose that I find really fascinating as well, but as far as the main things that I’ve changed is going from short story to poetry,” said Brian Eddings, senior English major.

The class meets from 5:30-7 p.m.  in the Chill every other Thursday. Along with readings of each others’ work, the class talks about future events. Anyone who is interested in the class is allowed to attend and bring in work to be critiqued.

In the Fall 2018 semester, the class held an open mic night for the reading of poetry, singing and improv. This event promoted the “Shades of Blue” edition of “Blackberry Winter.” For more information, click here.