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Caught in the Bull Pen

Student writers sharpen skills

staff writer

Published: Monday, January 27, 2014

Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 20:01

For the most part, budget cuts are seen in a harsh light. But without them, USU would not have its creative writing club, The Bull Pen.


This club was founded four years ago by the chair of the creative writing curriculum, Jennifer Sinor. It was originally created as a “capstone course” for advanced creative writing majors, but due to a restricted  budget, the course was cut.


The creative writing department then began brainstorming on how to keep students involved without overtaxing them in their regular courses. They created The Bull Pen to continue helping the students grow as writers and opened the club up to all students just last year when they gained club status through ASUSU, now USU/SA.


“It’s really, really an open environment, and it’s really helpful and accepting,” said Millie Tullis, a junior in creative writing and the club’s new president. “It’s a relaxed environment, and you don't have to already think you're this great writer to join.”


Throughout the semester, the student-run club will be preparing for Helicon West, Logan’s open mic night at the public library.


“It’s a really fun thing that we get to do this semester,” Sinor said.


During their weekly meetings, club members get a chance to listen to guest speakers from the faculty, play writing games to sharpen their skills and take part in workshops where they have an opportunity to reflect on a piece of work and receive criticism from their fellow writers.


“You volunteer your work to share, so it’s no pressure, but it’s really fun,” Tullis said.


The club tackles a wide variety of genres under creative writing, such as fiction, nonfiction and poetry. This year’s guest writer is Jesse Parent, who will be speaking about slam poetry on Feb. 24 in the Caine Room.


“Being part of The Bull Pen has helped me learn the importance of being involved,” said Anna Brown, the former club president who graduated last May. “Many people have this idea that to be a writer means to lock yourself in the attic for five years and emerge with a perfect novel or manuscript of poetry. That is not true. Being a writer means being part of a writing community.”

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