September 24, 2012 by dmaysone
Imagine a world where professors, students and guests converse about literature, movies and music in a casual Saturday afternoon setting. For ASU’s Creative Writing faculty and a group of dedicated student writers, that world thrives at ASU’s Non-required Readers (NRR) Meetings at The Pizza Joint in downtown Augusta.
According to co-founder of NRR Dr. Jared Hegwood, mentoring the growing creative writers at ASU was a natural progression of the Creative Writing program. He adds, “The meetings first began in the middle of last academic year [and] the camaraderie was such that we’ve kept the meeting going and they’ve only grown with time.” NRR meetings formed not only as a way to harness the creative energies of students, but to provide a forum for local writers. So what are the NRR meetings?
Every other Saturday at 6pm, ASU faculty, staff, students and guests convene downtown to critique each other’s fiction and poetry. Sometimes the talk turns to the latest blockbuster or the newest Indie music release. “We talk about music and movies a lot. We also kind of talk to our professors casually, asking them how their classes are going,” says English major Kyle Iasiello. Hegwood adds, “The format is very casual . . . but [we] are as civil and constructive as we would be in formal workshop. We take advantage of the casual nature to build a stronger rapport with the students and the interested community.”
Hegwood says that the purpose of the meetings is to build the department and generate the trust needed to produce stronger pieces, and this seems to be the key to the NRR Meetings’ success. Iasiello concludes, “Yes, the professors . . . still break our balls every now and then if we write something atrocious, but it’s just a good time for everyone.”