Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Writers on teaching’

Shop Talk |

Teaching, Writing, and Art. Or, the Art of Teaching Writing

As you may have noticed, our blog posts and features this week have all centered on the art of writing and the particular art of teaching writing. Some argue that writing can’t be taught, of course. Others say that only the craft of writing is teachable–that the spark of imagination and the vision of creation is not. But regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum, we believe writers need community, and also that a community dialogue–whether in a workshop, a reading group, or an online forum such as ours–naturally benefits how we read and experience writing, as well […]


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.


Shop Talk |

Under the Influence… of prepositions?!

Before submitting stories to workshop in graduate school, I spent hours combing my sentences for inefficiencies. I scrutinized verbs. I wrenched clauses from passive construction. I asked myself some hard questions about adjectives. My classmates often called my writing “clean,” which pleased me. I aspired toward concision. One term workshop was led by an intimidating man largely considered a genius among the graduate students. He introduced us to Chekhov and eviscerated stories with uncanny precision. When my turn came, I was nervous—with good reason. The week my story was up, he sent an email asking everyone to bring three pages […]


Shop Talk |

Under the Influence… of Stuart Dybek

The first serious writing course I took was an undergraduate seminar on image taught by Stuart Dybek. Stuart stressed to us the importance of the well-chosen detail, the picture that would sear itself onto the reader’s retina all at once, creating a meaning-packet that was intuitively felt but also stood up to thematic interrogation. He gave an example that’s never left me: a drop of blood in a puddle of lime juice. I don’t know whether this image came off the top of his head or if it was taken from a published piece by another writer; I don’t remember […]




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