Polk State Writing Talks’ Mission and Activities
The mission of Writing Talks is to provide students and employees of the college and the community with a non-judgmental writer’s workshop environment where they receive support and constructive critique from fellow writers. In addition, the organization serves as a supplement to English composition and literature classes, helping students’ writing skills and increasing the literary awareness of the college.
WT has different presentations each week. Some speakers present how to write, ultimately leading guests in mini-writing sessions. Others are successful authors who share tips on publishing and their enthusiasm for writing. WT 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 Polk State adjunct professor turned best-selling crime novelist).
Attendees explore a gamut of writing-related topics potentially useful to writers; for example, WT has had speakers present on writing about racial equality, using Jung’s archetypes, using tarot cards as inspiration, using Laughter Yoga as pre-writing, and using works of art as writing prompts (ekphrastic poetry). Presenters are community members, PSC faculty and staff, and visiting writers from North America.
Writing Talks has a Visiting Writers Program, in which published writers are invited to share their work through readings and to instruct 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).