The Forum: Berkshire County students publish new, original writing


Two publications of original student work are now available in the Berkshires.

"The Zine: Berkshire Community College's Journal of literary and visual arts," is now available online at The student-driven publication, which is produced each spring, features creative pieces of short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, visual art, script and literary criticism. BCC assistant professor of English, Juliana Spallholz, served as advisor for the latest publication, while Nikki Hall and Daniel Raftery served as co-editors-in-chief for the 2016 Journal.

Art, words with an edge

Earlier this year, ninth-grade students from teacher Melissa Quirk Cairns's English class at Drury High School in North Adams, launched their anthology, "Writing on the Devil's Walls."

The 85 freshmen visited the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown on March 29, 2015, and wrote original poetry based on a painting that they chose from the museum's collection. The visit to the Clark was part of the teacher's "Art and Poetry" curriculum unit that helps students in her ninth-grade English class make connections between the written and visual arts, building important critical thinking, communication and literacy skills.

Back in the classroom they built on their experiences with art and poetry and distilled their thoughts into a short essay exploring the connections between their poem and painting.

The book, "Writing on the Devil's Walls," presents the students' work — the art work they chose, and the poem and essay they wrote – in published form. It was launched on May 4 with a celebration at the Clark, along with the screening of a video produced by Joanne Hurlbut at Northern Berkshire Community Television that describes the Art and Poetry unit and making of the book.

The museum visit, publication and celebration were produced and supported by a collaboration of Drury, The Clark, and the local Art Museum Partnership for Education Inc. Info:


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