An innovative new approach to teaching and writing creative nonfiction from veteran teacher and critically acclaimed author Carol Bly.
Teachers and writers everywhere are facing the limits imposed by the prevailing models of teaching: community or MFA “workshops” or, at the high-school level, “peer review.” In Beyond the Writers' Workshop Carol Bly presents an alternative. She believes that
workshopping’s tendency to engage in wry scorn and pay exaggerated attention to technical details, causes apprentice writers, consciously or unconsciously, to modify their most passionate work.
Inspired by a philosophy of individuality and moral rigor, Bly combines ideas and techniques from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with the traditional teaching of fresh metaphor, salient dialogue, lively pace, and analysis of other literary work in her pioneering new approach. She also includes exercises and examples in an extensive practical appendix.
Prolific author Bly (The Passionate, Accurate Story; My Lord Bag of Rice), who teaches ethics-in-literature at the University of Minnesota, has written a useful analysis of the existing archetypes of creative writing programs. Bly looks at the many built-in problems of writing workshops whose dogmatic emphasis of techniques and neglect of ideas often prevent writers from creating their most passionate work. But Bly goes further than merely pinpointing the problems of the existing creative writing programs: this revealing study is replete with constructive advice on how to write meaningful nonfiction by incorporating techniques from psychotherapy and neuroscience. Bly also advocates giving school students, the poor, and the have-nots of society a forum through writing that will let them express what moves them. She ends the book with 15 writing exercises, usage sheets, and sample writing class agendas. Most suitable for writing teachers looking for something new to spark their students, this manual is recommended for all academic and large public libraries. Lisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.