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An Inside Look at the Mount’s Creative Writing Club

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Creative writing club

Sculptors sometimes conceive of their craft as freeing beautiful images from blocks of wood or stone. This process also describes blackout poetry, which asks literary artists to find meaning in a passage of already-published text, and then ink out words they don’t plan to use, leaving an entirely new poem. Rising senior Janelle Ramroop delineated the technique, calling it “making a creative work out of art itself” and “a great steppingstone, a great way to experiment with different forms.”

janelle_creativewritingclub.jpgRamroop, president of the Mount’s Creative Writing Club, and her fellow officers hosted a blackout poetry event near the end of the Spring 2022 semester.  The group met in Horning Classroom, on the lower level of the Mount’s apartments.  Club officers moved furniture to create what the treasurer, Myron Solorzano, C’23, called a “community-vibe, coffee-house atmosphere.”  They arranged group seating, played soft music, and displayed a collection of used books on a table, with markers, card stock and art supplies.  On another table, they offered tea, scones, and candies.  Tea is served at each club meeting, and members are encouraged to “BYOM” or “bring your own mug.”  

Attending the event with her roommate Natalie Torta, C’23, Mount creative writer Claire Doll, C’24, explained how “we grabbed some of the books and began browsing. I was looking for works that had lines that stuck out to me. I picked up a book by Langston Hughes, turned the pages, and began to underline words that I wanted to keep. Once I blacked out the other lines, I developed a whole new poem based on the image of a sunrise in the summer. The poem had a very different meaning from the Langston Hughes poem.” Doll described the activity as “creating something original and new from something beautiful,” a process that “reinforced the meaning and the purpose of poetry.”  

creative-writing-club-1-in-text.jpgBlackout poetry was just one of many events that the Creative Writing club hosted throughout the year. Originally founded in 2019 by Eliza Felos (C’21), the club was inactive during COVID but made a successful comeback under Ramroop’s leadership. When she took a class with Dr. Tom Bligh, the Mount’s creative writing director and the advisor to its award-winning literary magazine, Lighted Corners, he suggested she join. “He pitched it as a sister club to Lighted Corners, and there was an opportunity to get published through the work we were doing in the Creative Writing club,” Ramroop said. A psychology and English major, she has a passion for creative writing and art and incorporates both into club activities. As president, she strives to create an environment where people are free to express themselves. “It doesn’t matter if you are an English major or a chemistry major,” she emphasized. “Even if you are not a writer, the Creative Writing Club has a place for everyone.”

Currently, members meet every Monday to discuss their work or share prompts for upcoming meetings. “This club is 100% student-run,” noted Bligh. “I don’t attend meetings and it’s open to all students.” President Ramroop, Treasurer Solorzano, Secretary Micah Gardner (C’ 23), and Vice President Kayla Cooper (C’ 23) hope to bring as many students together as possible through creative writing. Ramroop said that “college can be a very hectic experience, so we wanted to create a space where students can just come and unwind.” This was certainly the case during their blackout poetry event, as students created and decorated their literary works while sipping tea and having a pleasant conversation.

creative-writing-club-in-action-2-in-text.jpgBesides creative writing, the group also incorporates a variety of activities, to suit every member. At the conclusion of blackout poetry, participants played a competitive game of Kahoot! By adding these touches, Ramroop hopes to “show students that we are a welcoming space for everyone.” Solorzano is an avid photographer and sometimes edits photos while others are writing. An artist, Gardner feels free to draw. “The atmosphere at the meeting is you do what you want to do,” Solorzano said. “There’s no pressure to get things done.” Vice President Cooper explained, “with all the academic work we have, I didn’t want a high-commitment club.  Creative writing creates a less intimidating way to get involved. It’s a good way to see what you like and find a footing as a new student at Mount St. Mary’s.” 

This year, the club focused on building a collective folder so that students can share their work and edit other pieces that are submitted. The club also collaborated with Lighted Corners.   Ramroop has served as the journal’s art editor since her freshman year, and many club members have had their work published there. “Having that connection with Lighted Corners is great for us as a club,” she stated. “They’re recognized on a national level, so it’s positive exposure for us.”

As the club continues to grow, the goal is to host more successful events for Mount students.  Ramroop described the club as a “less academic, more stress-free and fun atmosphere for students to be creative and cultivate their creativity.” Combined with the university’s creative writing program, its award-winning literary magazine, and the mentorship of Dr. Bligh, the club, as Doll observed, makes “the Mount a really great place to cultivate a creative writing community for students who are interested in publishing or just doing creative writing as an activity.” The Mount’s beautiful campus also motivates her. “I’m inspired when I walk around and don’t feel I’d get that at a big city school,” she said. The atmosphere is certainly working for Doll. Her creative work has not only appeared multiple times in Lighted Corners; it has been published several times in nationally recognized journals beyond the Mount.    

To learn more about the Mount’s Creative Writing club, please visit

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Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts