Creative reWriters Club critiques and inspires


Where the club meets

Danielle Schneider, Staff Writer

“Bring in the stuff you wrote, and let’s learn how to edit, and edit, and edit.”

This is the main goal of the Creative reWriters club, according to club co-advisor and special education department member John Parker-Campbell.

Each Thursday, the Creative reWriters Club meets to discuss and critique student works, ranging from fiction stories to poetry.

“We spend about three to four sessions editing, including feedback from the writer,” said English teacher Carolyn Wallace. In addition, Wallace and Parker-Campbell are in A16 five days a week for any additional student editing.

Jan. 23 the club spent lunch editing a poem by junior Dana Benelli.

The club’s critique process follows a precedent set by Stanford University’s creative writing department. “You read your piece, and everyone will then give their opinions,” said Benelli. Throughout this commentary, the writer stays silent. According to Benelli, “This way, you can’t influence how other people see [your poetry].”

Benelli said, “I’ve always had ideas for fiction in my head, but I  only began writing when I first joined the club and wanted to share my ideas with others. It’s not a competitive environment, and I’ve learned more here than in my English classes.”

The club formed in 2007, with Wallace and Parker-Campbell as its founders. Wallace, noticing that “there’s such an emphasis on passing tests in school,” wanted to form a club to ameliorate the problems “with large classes where there’s not enough time to rewrite.” To Wallace, the club is “a good alternative for kids to revise and rewrite beyond what they could do in the classroom.”

Typically, about 15 students attend each meeting. “Some go in there to just listen and offer their 10 cents,” said senior and club Vice President Adrielle Van Amsterdam. “But there are many people who are happy to participate.”

When Van Amsterdam joined Creative reWriters two years ago, about five students came to each meeting. The club’s main growth came last year when they participated in the Clubs Fair.

However, the club has always had a presence in the Carlmont community. Each year, they publish a magazine filled with student work.

“We had somewhere between 350 and 400 works to go through last year [for the magazine],” said Wallace. We have student editors, so it’s more of a collaborative effort.” In the end, though, the club only publishes about 25 pieces.

As Parker-Campbell said, “You don’t just write a great poem by accident.”