The New Creative Writing: Bringing Forward a New Era of Instruction

full name / name of organization: 
Principal editors: Dianne Donnelly, Patrick Bizzaro, Gary Hawkins
contact email: 

The status of genre writing has been redefined for us in the work of Gunther Kress. Kress reminds us that writing involves more than the alphabetic notion that we write poems, stories, plays and essays. In fact, communication is large, contains multitudes, to paraphrase Whitman; it involves visual and aural elements as well as traditional writing. As a result, even those of us who have not technologized our classes have felt the need to revise our courses (and our assignments) accordingly to include more and more of what our students bring with them as prior knowledge and experience to our classes. There is new teaching to be done, and we must bring forward a new era of instruction in creative writing.

In this collection of essays, we are interested in essays that move away from the tradition (as in the kinds of teaching advice normally found in textbooks and by means of lore). We hope to reveal, in the process, what the new creative writing course might look like. What kinds of activities are employed nowadays that bring together previously segregated genres; what kinds of partnerships have formed between disciplines to teach the new creative writing? In what ways are we drawing on concepts of transformative art, blending different mediums together? We want to acknowledge the shifting nature of students' skills with technology but also with various art forms, including music, film, and new media broadly defined.

Hans Ostrom, in his introduction to Colors of a Different Horse, asked, "Who among us is already inviting rap, hip-hop, performance poetry, and other so-called popular sources of compositional improvisation into our workshop?" And while there are certainly many who embrace today's popular culture in their teaching, Ostrom's broader question can still challenge traditional imitative practices in the classroom: What does it mean to link creative writing to "the street?"

This book should serve as an introduction to innovative practices in creative writing instruction that result in course development. We do not necessarily favor abolishing genre as an organizing principle for creative writing courses. Rather, we want to explore the idea that writing is less bounded by genre and instead has been liberated by recent efforts to adapt the creative writing course to the interests of our students who come into our classrooms increasingly savvy about creativity as a product of experiences in blurred communities, multiple modalities, and virtual realities.

In short, we want to know what new thinking you have done about the teaching of creative writing in response to the changing times. What kinds of innovations and creative projects has the new era in creative writing produced? What does planning and teaching the new creative writing course look like? Please appendix syllabi and/or course plans as you desire.

Send abstracts of 500-1000 words to editors Dianne Donnelly, Patrick Bizzaro, and Gary Hawkins at by 09/30/2010.