Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Pedagogy

I have been a delinquent blogger due to finishing my novel-slash-thesis this week. I will work on planning some posts! But for now, here's a brief one.

I've been curious for a while as to why there's so little "official" material written about creative writing pedagogy and methods. AWP's pedagogy panel seems like one attempt to remedy this, but given that this is primarily student- rather than teacher-based and that so few papers are ultimately published, it seems like only a partial solution. It also seems like a lot of talking about teaching happens face-to-face, or in blog comment sections, and that a fair number of good thoughts just drop into the void.

I have come across one publication lately, Creative Writing: Teaching Theory and Practice, that looks to be addressing the lack. It's online, it looks to operate on about a yearly basis, and it is, I think, currently accepting submissions. What's really nice is that it looks like many of the contributors have taken it on themselves to be not only ambitious in their choice of topics, but really rigorous in their efforts to locate and build on previous scholarship. So, it's not exercise or class activity-based, which is what I want, and what I'd argue is the right direction for the discipline to be moving.

I haven't read anything there in full yet, but it seems like a good project to support. And it leads me to hope that my impression is wrong--that there is scholarly work being done on the subject and that I'm just looking in the wrong places, or not looking hard enough.

Does anyone know about other publications trying to fill the void? Publications that fill the void without necessarily trying to? Is there a void at all--is this just a misconception?


  1. Ooh, thanks for pointing out that journal! The article from issue one about the creative state sounds especially interesting. . .

    My freshman year at Butler I ran across a journal in Irwin about general English pedagogy that included one article about whether actual creative writers are the best creative writing teachers. I don't remember what journal that was, though.

  2. Ooh, yeah, I've wondered about that. I bet that'd be a really interesting one to read. It just seems like a lot of teaching of creative writing studiously ignores the pursuit of new studies, let alone the studies that have been done about teaching writing in general. I feel like having been trained and experienced in teaching college composition has better prepared me to teach creative writing than if I'd just come at it with my own ideas of what was good (for me) and what worked (for me). I think that's part of why I'm hoping to see greater focus on pedagogy.

  3. Tracy, congratulations on finishing your novel/thesis. What was the finale like?

  4. Like, the home stretch? It was a little grueling--I didn't get sleep for about a week. I kept expecting to finish it sometime Tuesday afternoon--I was maybe a quarter of the way into the last chapter already, so I started in the morning thinking I'd finish at about noon. Then that came and went, I took a break, and then wrote from about 3:00 to 8:00. Still couldn't get it, came downstairs, had a little cry (:(), then ate dinner, and worked from 10 to midnight and finished it on the dot. I don't know why I felt like I had to get it done that day; I guess I was just getting emotionally exhausted from revolving the characters and possible endings in my head all the time. It definitely wasn't an ending that immediately presented itself--I changed it about six times.

    And it occurs to me now you might have meant the literal finale, like, the ending...oops! if so. All I'll say there is it needs much editing still to work very well!