Here’s the skinny. . .
In the next to last issue of Poet’s and Writer’s magazine Dan Barden wrote an aptly titled “rant” against workshops. You can read it here.
I wrote the following in response. They elected not to publish it. Hence, here goes:
Dan Barden’s “Workshop: A Rant Against Creative Writing Courses,” (March/April 2008) once again calls attention to issues that have troubled writers for years about the workshop. In fact, Barden and others who despair enough to rant might find solace in the recently published crop of books that explore teaching creative writing both theoretically and practically. In Anna Leahy’s Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom: The Authority Project, Graeme Harper’s Teaching Creative Writing, Steve Earnshaw’s The Creative Writing Handbook, and my own anthology with Kelly Ritter, Can It Really Be Taught?: Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy, to name just a few, Barden will find essays by fellow writers who have also struggled mightily with the pedagogy of the workshop, who examine it closely and who often suggest concrete ways in which instructors can revise it so that actual learning he questions does take place. Supporting these writers’ effort’s by availing ourselves of the growing body of knowledge that explores creative writing pedagogy is critical and empowers all of us who teach the subject.
It had to get out somehow. Talk to you soon.