Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy’

Essays |

Gargoyles in the Classroom: Some Reflections on Popular Fiction in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Workshop

Back in the 90’s, I was teaching a multi-genre creative writing class at Cape Fear Community College, a name I am not making up. There were almost thirty students, with a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and abilities. At the time, inexperienced, I was still letting folks workshop whatever they wanted, without any restraints on content or pre-screening by me. I was more giddy cheerleader than true teacher, with vague hopes of leaping onto my desk, Robin-Williams like, and inspiring bemusement and admiration from my young students. All this led to some unusual situations, like the young man who plagiarized […]


Shop Talk |

The Eras of Teaching Creative Writing

  In his 1994 book Peddling Prosperity, the economist Paul Krugman offered an analogy that I have never been able to forget. He suggests that modern economics, which he fondly calls a “primitive science,” has reached about the same level of development that medicine reached in 1900. Medical researchers had, by that time [1900], accumulated a great deal of information about the human body and its workings, and were capable of giving some critically usefully advice about how to avoid disease. They could not, however, cure very much. Indeed, the doctor / essayist Lewis Thomas tells us that the most […]


Interviews |

Write from Your Own Chair: An interview with Bret Lott on teaching

In the midst of a stellar authorial career and after a quarter century of teaching creative writing, Bret Lott takes a moment to talk about sending students in the right direction, maintaining a sincere workshop practice, and keeping your writing (and reading) life alive as you teach.


Essays |

The Future of Literary Citizenship: A Review Essay

With the rise of digital culture, teachers must examine how to help students connect with literature all over again, and teachers who are also writers have a particular interest in building students’ “literary citizenship.” Writer and teacher Anna Leahy looks for perspectives on this dilemma in four books by Marjorie Garber, Christina Vischer Bruns, Kevin Stein, and David Orr.


Essays |

Where Are We Going Next? A Conversation about Creative Writing Pedagogy (Pt. 2)

In Part II of “Where Are we Going Next?” Day, Leahy and Vanderslice discuss the rise of assessment, what’s really going on in creative writing classrooms, ways to respond to student work, incorporating digital media, and adapting the workshop for the 21st century. They also explore the importance of what writer Dinty Moore calls “literary citizenship” – the idea that individual literary pursuits thrive when combined with a spirit of community, generosity and mentorship.


Essays |

Where Are We Going Next? A Conversation about Creative Writing Pedagogy (Pt. 1)

Who’s afraid of big, bad pedagogy? Relax. In part one of a lively, insightful discussion about the practice and art of teaching creative writing, Cathy Day, Anna Leahy and Stephanie Vanderslice get down to brass tacks. The three professors articulate “what we do and how we do it,” and how to do it–teaching–better. So dive in; once you get past your jargon phobia, you’ll discover that good practice and theory are downright invigorating–and elemental–for both sides of the classroom.



Literary Partners