Peaches and dreams: the Peach Pit Writing Collective

By Summer Hornbostel

Courtesy of Peach Pit Writing Collective

Amidst the buzzing energy of Nocturne, a calm, warm glow emanated from the Gifford Hall Gamphitheatre. Vibrant verses of poetry captivated nearby ears and drew a sizable crowd to first ever recitation from the newly formed Peach Pit Writing Collective. 

Yardena Carmi ’23 and Emma Auer ’23 created Peach Pit this winter. Their interest in poetry grew during a creative writing course they both took during their first year at Middlebury, and from there, they began to explore writing together outside of a classroom environment. 

“It was a pretty organic process,” Auer said about the club’s foundingbirth. “I personally really like to write from prompts, and I hadn’t found a club on campus that [did] that.” 

What began as just a few friends meeting to write poetry once a week in Crossroads Cafe became an official club with an email list of 30 members that drew a sizable crowd at their Nocturne reading.

“It is so crazy to see something that started as an idea take hold and create a physical product and event that strangers came to,” Carmi said, referring to the club’s first zine and to the performance at Nocturne. 

Originally known as the Peach Gem Collective, the club underwent a name change during its approval process. 

“Peach Pit sounded a bit tougher,” Yardena said. “Something I always think about, especially with creative work, is whether I’m being taken seriously … and I think of the pit at the center of a peach as something you have to deal with, something you have to be aware of and take seriously.” 

“The other idea is that writing is about getting to the center,” Auer added. Reaching the “pit” of a writing project takes practice, and Peach Pit’s meetings provide space for it. The Peach Pit workshop sessions loosely follow the “Liz Lerman Method,” or the critical response process, which is designed to center the author in discussions about their work. 

The first few weeks of meetings focused on writing, particularly using time prompts, that included an opportunity to share. In subsequent meetings, writers could submit their work beforehand and have it workshopped by other members during the meeting.

Peach Pit’s penultimate meeting was a zine assembly where members collaged, drew, painted and contributed in other artistic ways to its pages. The zine, made of simple printer paper stapled together, was then scanned into dozens of print copies that were distributed at the Nocturne reading. 

Seven poets were featured in Peach Pit’s first zine, and nine recited their work during the club’s gathering during Nocturne at the Gifford Hall Gamphitheatre. The club requested that people bring their own lamps to plug in on stage, and the result was a beautiful coalescence of warm lighting that brought the Gamphitheatre steps to life, and, in conjunction with vibrant poetic verses, attracted non-members like moths to a flame.   

Peach Pit’s goals for next year include releasing a bi-monthly publication, bringing in speakers and hosting a weekend retreat at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. They are excited to keep building the space they have created. 

“It feels like our baby,” Carmi said. “I hope it sticks around. It would be so cool to create a lasting creative space on campus.”

Peach Pit Writing Collective is a supportive space where creativity  is celebrated and encouraged. The collective can be found on Instagram @peachpitmiddlebury.