Putting words to paper

Published poet Janice Northerns takes on Creative Writing class

Creative writing students at Seward County Community College have a fresh opportunity to put words to paper in stories, poems, and more with English instructor Janice Northerns this fall. The Creative Writing evening class, scheduled from 6-9 p.m. every Wednesday, continues a long tradition of serious writing at the college.

Creative writing sometimes intimidates would-be writers, Northerns noted, but her class is set up to make various forms accessible and fun.

“Students will learn about poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction and get the chance to to try their hands at all three,” she said. “We will do lots of fun activities and exercises to jump start the creative process.” Much of the class will be conducted as workshop sessions, where students read and discuss each other’s work and receive constructive feedback in a friendly environment from their peers and the instructor.

The class is open to students and community members—anyone who wants to learn how to write or to improve their writing is welcome to enroll. Northerns said the diverse mix of students has historically been a bonus.

Janice Northerns head shot“Writing has the ability to bring people together and we’ve seen that at SCCC at our annual poetry coffee house, where everyone reads —  high school students from small towns, truck drivers, retired school teachers, single mothers, published poets. It’s a lot of fun.”

Northerns has helped organize and host the contest for the past seven years.

In addition to generating work that might be featured in the popular annual event next spring, students also have the opportunity to see their work published in the Telolith, SCCC’s award-winning magazine for student art and writing.

Northerns takes over instruction in the long-standing course after nearly two decades teaching in English classrooms at the high school and community college level in Liberal. She holds a master’s degree in English with a specialization in Creative Writing from Texas Tech University, where she also taught creative writing while doing her graduate work, and won the Robert S. Newton Creative Writing award for her poetry.

Her poetry has been published in Culebra!, Conference of College Teachers of English Studies, Concho River Review, Southwestern American Literature, College English, Coal City Review, and elsewhere.

In addition to her work as a poet, Northerns has a background in journalism and has published award-winning essays and short stories.

This summer, Northerns had several poems published in the online journals all roads will lead you home (Virtual Artists Collective) and Sweet Tree Review. Read Northerns’ poetry via these links:



For more information, call Janice Northerns at 620-417-1456 or email her at janice.northerns@sccc.edu

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