This last week UMF hosted its annual Longfellow Young Writers’ Workshop, for highschool students entering their sophomore, junior, and senior years. It is a five day workshop with classes on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting taught by UMF faculty. The students also work with some of the creative writing majors as well as getting to meet and speak with published authors.
It has been six years since I went to Longfellow and I remember it being one of the main reasons I ended up going into the creative writing major. Before Longfellow I had only been writing just for fun. After attending the workshop and taking classes with the professors, I realized that writing was something I could be serious about. If not for Longfellow, I doubt that I would even have ended up going to UMF.
Remembering my experiences, I was curious about how the current students were being impacted. So, close to the end of the week I managed to sit down with a few of them and ask them about it. We talked about why they came, what they really enjoyed and what they were getting out of the experience. All of them brought up their background in writing and the classes they had taken back at their schools. However, each of them brought up how, even in the short time they were at Longfellow, they felt they learned a lot more about the craft than they had in their highschool classes. I was told by a few of them that the prompts and exercises helped them approach they’re writing in ways they had never thought of. One student brought up a prompt they had done writing poetry based off of artwork they were shown.
I also asked them about what they were thinking of doing after high school. There was a student there who talked about how he planned to go to Yale, which definitely impressed me. Others were strongly considering UMF’s writing program after their time on campus. From personal experience and from my talks with the students, the Longfellow workshop has been very beneficial to both students and the university and its writing program.