Book: Creativity and Writing Pedagogy
Chapter: 13. Inspiring Each Other: Student Collaboration in the Poetry Writing Workshop
Many writers begin as avid readers: reading can be the impetus and inspiration for their own work. In addition, many writers teach in undergraduate creative writing programs where they are confronted with students who do not share their relationship to reading or to language. This situation creates two problems: students aren’t engaged enough by language to make creative use of their reading and they lack a sense of authority that might allow them to be helpful critics of one another’s work. This essay explores and explains one strategy I have used in my undergraduate creative writing courses to address both issues. By asking my students to write creative responses to each other’s work, they learn to read more closely and carefully and also gain a sense of authority and competence in providing constructive criticism.