Writer’s Studio with Lakeland Alumni Author

Melissa Kassens, Staff Reporter

Lakeland creative writing majors spent three days with visiting author and Lakeland alum Dawn Hogue during the writer’s studio seminar. The seminar is a requirement for the creative writing major and gives upcoming writers a chance to meet with a published author to learn from them and work on pieces they are writing. Hogue worked with students individually during a workshop to give feedback on pieces and as a group to create on the spot pieces using photos Hogue brought, showing that a story or poem is everywhere. Hogue gave students constructive feedback on how to elevate pieces, find inspiration and how to present at a public reading. On the last day of the seminar, Hogue read from her new book “Summit Road” and students read their workshopped pieces to a packed audience in Laun.  

Lakeland sophomore Tayler Otten, who read a series of poems during the public read said “The Writer’s Studio was an eye-opening experience. As an aspiring writer and editor, it was helpful for me to workshop my piece with a published author. I really enjoyed the public reading because it allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and share my poetry with others.” 

Darcyn Gross, a Lakeland senior, who read his fiction piece, shared similar feelings as Otten and was inspired by the show of support from Hogue and others, “I really appreciate Dawn coming and lending some of her expertise. As a writer, I am always excited to grow in my abilities. I am usually not really fond of reading in public, but had a blast at the event. I also wanted to thank everyone who came out; the writers appreciate you.” 

Creative writing major students work on several pieces at once during any given semester while workshopping with their peers. The opportunity to work with a published author and receive feedback outside of Lakeland prepares students for future submissions and provides a space to ask questions about writing and publishing from a professional.