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On the Teaching of Creative Writing: Responses to a Series of Questions Paperback – January 15, 1989
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This tiny little volume evolved from a series of discussions with Wallace Stegner during his two-month residency at Dartmouth College in the summer of 1980. Stegner (author of Angle of Repose and The Spectator Bird) was among the first students in the U.S. to receive a master's degree in creative writing; he also founded and directed for 25 years Stanford University's creative writing program. Thus, he is unusually qualified to address the issue of teaching writing. Stegner calls to task those instructors who use their classrooms to create a coterie of copiers, as well as those indulgent professors who rhapsodize about their students' work without warrant. "Young writers should be encouraged to write," he says, "and discouraged from thinking they are writers," as the process of becoming a writer is a "long, long apprenticeship." Instead, a writing instructor need have "sympathy, empathy, [and] a capacity to enter into another mind without dominating it." Finally, he says, it is by way of the Socratic method that writers should be educated. "Talent can't be taught, but it can be awakened.... All a teacher can do is set high goals for students--or get them to set them for themselves--and, then, try to help them reach those goals." --Jane Steinberg
From the Publisher
4 3/4 x 6 3/4 trim. Frontis. LC 89-117864
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This small book is inspiring for teachers of creative writing, as well as for creative writers, themselves. As the earlier reviewer said, this is NOT a textbook--it's only 72 pages--but the pages are packed with thoughts and assertions from someone who was both a great novelist and the greatest teacher of novelists in the 20th century.
If you care about the art and the craft of writing, and especially if you care about the teaching of it, you'll find much to take away from this little book.