Creating a Community of Writers
February 14, 2017
If you take Lily Rabinoff-Goldman’s Creative Writing class, expect to learn the usual important stuff— like how to vividly convey ideas using sound, rhythm and image.
And then be ready to experience the exhilaration of being part of a community of writers. “The class is a fascinating immersion into poetry and fiction and I became a much better writer,” explains sophomore Julia Clardy. “You’re surrounded by kids who are equally passionate about writing. It’s a really supportive community.”
Rabinoff-Goldman, Chair of the English Department, works hard to create that feeling of shared purpose. “We do a lot of collaborative peer revision — what’s called ‘workshopping’ in the world of professional writers,” she says. The semester-long poetry unit culminated with students “publishing” their poetry in one of two forms: a large poster-like presentation called a broadside or a small hand-crafted booklet known as a chapbook. “I loved creating my chapbook because it was a physical manifestation of all the progress I made during the semester,” comments Clardy. Students then presented their poetry collections to each other in a Beit Café— an open-mike celebration that was a huge hit.
“The kids appreciated seeing see how their feedback had affected the final drafts of each other’s poetry,” says Rabinoff-Goldman. “Everyone was so enthusiastic and appreciative of each other’s work.”
Gann writers are perennial winners of writing awards. Recently, seniors Hodaya Propp and Olivia Siegal and sophomore Ilana Jacobs were among a very select group of students to win regional Scholastic Art & Writing awards. Now their work will go on to the national competition, representing a school where writing and thinking are inextricably linked.