Creative Writing Club

Polk State Creative Writing Club’s Mission and Activities

The mission of the Polk State College Creative Writing Club (CWC) is to provide students and employees of the college with a non-judgmental writer’s workshop environment where they receive support and constructive critique from fellow writers. In addition, the club serves as a supplement to English composition and literature classes, helping students’ writing skills and increasing the literary awareness of the college.

The CWC meets Thursdays from noon to 1:15 p.m. on the Lakeland campus in LAC-1258 (unless otherwise noted), starting the first week of classes and continuing for 12 weeks, not including the Thursday before spring break.

The CWC has different presentations each week. Some speakers present how to write, ultimately leading club members and guests in mini-writing sessions. Others are successful authors who share tips on publishing and their enthusiasm for writing. The CWC has enjoyed guest presentations by Fred Koehler (children’s book author), Donna Kelly (local reporter turned novelist), and Vincent Scarsella (former New York State lawyer and former Polk State adjunct professor turned best-selling crime novelist).

Childrens book illustrator, Fred Koehler, novelist Donna Kelly, author and Polk State professor Vincent Scarsella.

Pictured left to right: Fred Koehler, Donna Kelly, and Vincent Scarsella.

Attendees explore a gamut of writing-related topics potentially useful to writers; for example, the CWC has had speakers present on writing about racial equality, on using Jung’s archetypes, on using tarot cards as inspiration, on using Laughter Yoga as pre-writing, and on using works of art as writing prompts (ekphrastic poetry). Presenters are local community members, PSC faculty and staff, and visiting writers from North America.

Writing Contests and Events

The fall and spring CWC writing contests are open to current Polk State College students on all campuses. Participants are celebrated at an end of semester event which includes readings of the submitted works and prizes awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in each category.

By submitting to the contest, a Polk State College student is automatically eligible to be included in the CWC’s anthology of student work. The CWC publishes as many student works as possible each year. The CWC has now published four collections of student work: Anthology 2016, Anthology 2017, Anthology 2018, and Anthology 2019.

Annual Food Drive

Every year since its inception, the CWC has teamed with the Polk State College Phi Theta Kappa honor society to run a food drive that benefits the PSC food pantry. The club places large, decorated boxes in strategic locations on various campuses, and club volunteers sort the food for delivery to the food pantry.

CWC Membership

Any current student or current employee of the college is eligible for membership in the PSC CWC; however, only student members may vote. A lifetime membership costs $5. A student does not need to be a member to attend club meetings or events or enter a CWC contest.

CWC Officers

CWC has 1-2 officer positions, public relations officers who aid in publishing meeting times and locations, setting up and tearing down for events, and managing social media. The officers must be members in good standing and be approved by a vote from other members or appointed by the club’s faculty sponsors if a vote is not possible.

Visiting Writers Program

The Creative Writing Club has a Visiting Writers Program, in which published writers are invited to share their work through readings and to instruct members and guests in what they’ve learned through creative processes. Past visiting writers include Peter Meinke (former Florida Poet Laureate and Eckerd College professor), Cristina Perissinotto (Italian Canadian scholar and poet and University of Ottawa professor), Youmone Berrien (Jacksonville, Florida, teacher, and author), and John Yamrus (Pennsylvanian poet and novelist of 21 books and more than 1400 poems published in print magazines worldwide).

For more information, contact Professor HD Childree at hchildree@polk.edu