Sharing creative work is the gateway to success, and the UW Tacoma professors more than agree. This past quarter, a senior showcase and an advanced poetry reading took place to allow writing studies students to showcase their works.
For the senior showcase, writing studies seniors graduating in winter quarter were asked to perform anything from poetry to screenplays. Located in Cherry Parks 001, each showcase participant stood atop a platform with a microphone to read their piece. Jenny Miller, winter quarter graduate, found the experience to be enlightening.
“As a photographer, I’m used to putting my work out there for the world to see and critique,” said Miller. “But standing up and reading my poems about extremely personal topics [from] sexual assault to the trials of motherhood, and even romantic heartache, is really vulnerable. However, that’s how we grow.”
Writing studies professors are pushing their students to write with deep, raw emotion, hoping to bring out their best work. Professor Abby Miller believes that having university writers read their original works aloud is an immeasurable benefit to themselves and the writing studies major.
“I have high expectations, not for only my students but for all writers, but writing is an act of bravery no matter what genre you’re play (sic) with,” said professor Miller. “So I expect bravery. And I expect risk. I have very little patience for bullshit.”
Abby Miller views her classrooms as writing communities to make the environment a creative journey they can all take on together, and professor JM Miller fosters the same ideology.
At the recent Advanced Poetry reading at Tacoma’s Anthem Coffee, JM Miller had 12 of their students share their work. Before the reading began, their students joined wrists and hummed, feeling each other’s pulses in an intimate and emotional way. This simple gesture effectively connected the students on a deeper level, preparing them for a night of poetry.
Within UW Tacoma’s writing studies major, fostering a creative environment and encouraging students to follow their own paths is crucial to the learning process. For Abby Miller, watching her students read their works and create their pieces is all a part of the process.
“I can model a writer’s life and approach for them, but I can’t tell them how to write and what to write,” said professor Miller. “So I bring all kinds of stuff into my classrooms … that prods at a range of emotions and histories; I get the conversations going, then I get out of the way.”
Having writing studies majors share their work pushes them to become better writers, and UW Tacoma professors and students are continuing to do just that.
Kelsie is a senior at UWT and is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Tacoma Ledger. She is double majoring in creative writing and film studies, and has fiction published in the Tahoma West literary arts journal. In her spare time, she enjoys stage managing local Tacoma theater productions and working as a barista at Volcano Coffee in Puyallup.