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The Society for Creative Writing hosts inaugural event, offers new writing opportunities

By Staff | Feb 14, 2019

Shepherdstown Poet Laureate Hope Maxwell Snyder, left, hugs President Mary Hendrix after presenting Hendrix with a Christian Caine custom-made pin, formed from ti-colored gold, during the inaugural event for the Society of Creative Writing. The pin is one of two created with the emblem of Snyder's original writing event in Shepherdstown, the Sotto Voce Festival, which was disbanded a few years ago. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN Shepherdstown Poet Laureat Hope Maxwell Snyder and writer Michael Collier presented their work at the Marinoff Theater on Friday, for the inaugural event of Shepherd University’s Society for Creative Writing.

A tray of desert hors d’oeuvre and a twelve-bar blues jam greeted those in attendance at the Marinoff on Friday for the inaugural event. President Mary Hendrix opened the event with an introduction to the main presenters, while reminding the audience the impact of what writers can do, “Good writing will always be important. Period.”

The Society for Creative Writing, per their homepage, “aims to bring national and international poets, fiction and non-fiction writers to Shepherd University in order to encourage literary dialogue in the community and to expose students to professionals in the writing field.”

Snyder followed Hendrix, introducing the society and Collier to the audience. Collier’s introduction was met with applause, as Collier took the stage to read from his new book, “My Bishop and Other Poems.” He presented “The Storm,” a long-form poem relating parts of his life to the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 in 1982.

Following Collier’s reading, Snyder read from her published book of poetry, “Esperanza and Hope,” including works such as “Blue Nights” and “Photograph of a Man Standing by a Waterfall.” Books from both authors were available for purchase and signing after the event, where Four Seasons Books was selling them and donating 15 percent of the proceeds to the society.

Former Maryland Poet Laureate Michael Collier reads “The Storm," a long-form poem relating parts of his life to the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 in 1982, during the Society for Creative Writing's inaugural event on Friday. Tabitha Johnston

According to Snyder, the society will not only increase opportunities for community members, but also for students.

“I believe that students will benefit from listening to writers read their work and from engaging in conversations about craft and creativity,” Snyder said, mentioning the society will bring in notable authors to host writing workshops throughout the year. “Even though writing is done in solitude, we learn from others and we benefit from spending time with like-minded people. It gives us a sense of community, which is very important.”

When asked about what students can expect from becoming a part of the society, Snyder described a contest held during the previous weekend where Lilli Sutton, a student at Shepherd, won a scholarship. The society is also offering internship opportunities, and experience opportunities, relating to writing as a profession and art.

“Younger writers can learn from established writers and vice versa. It’s a dialogue. A crucial dialogue,” Snyder said.

Snyder has published multiple books and is currently the assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ conference in Sicily.

Shepherds town Poet Laureate Hope Maxwell Snyder, right, signs a copy of her book, "Esperanza and Hope," for Shepherd University English Education Freshman Ally Masterson, at the conclusion of Friday's event. Tabitha Johnston

The Society for Creative Writing is offering differing levels of memberships through donations, and Shepherd students can join for free. To learn more, visit www.shepherd.edu/societyforcreativewriting.

A twelve-bar blues jam greeted those in attendance at the inaugural event in the Marinoff Theater on Friday evening. Tabitha Johnston