Teaching writing at the MFA level for me is an empathic act that amounts to entering my students’ imaginations as companion and mentor on their writing journey. My task is to see the project through their eyes and then enhance their efforts with my own skills and perspective, which serve as a container within which to bring the project to fruition. “Rules” of good fiction and dramatic exposition must be acknowledged but also, once the craft is mastered, questioned. Genres can be opened up, reshuffled, combined into meta-genres. Working in familiar forms and creating new ones both require literary sophistication. I encourage my students to read in a wide international and historical arena to broaden their perspective from simply contemporary American literature, read from diverse cultures and historical periods, appreciate the aesthetics of other forms and possibilities, and sharpen their critical faculties.
MA in English, University of Toronto
BA in English, University of California, Berkeley
- Guggenheim Fellowship in Literature
- American Council of Learned SocietiesFellowship in Scholarly Studies
- Modern Language Association prize in Comparative Literary Studies
- Association of American Publishers PROSE Award for Excellence in Literature
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Areas of Expertise
My own writing covers a wide range of genres and I teach all of them at Goddard: longform and short fiction, memoir, screenplay and playwriting. Because I am also a literary critic, I bring my experience in this field to the all-important task of teaching critical reading and writing in our program.
Meaningful Action in the World
My meaningful action in the world is my creative work. The fact that I teach what I write makes my teaching deeply meaningful to me and I try to communicate that intensity to my students. My aim is to impart not only the craft skills they need to be effective creative writers, but more crucially the breadth of humanistic values that comes from their wide-ranging reading and the all-important skills of critical reading and critical writing that will serve them in finding their own voice the world as well as their own work.
- Neighbor George, Strange Attractor Press, UK, 2021
- Compulsory Games by stories by Robert Aickman, Editor and Introduction, NYRB Books, 2018
- Gothicka, Harvard University Press, 2012
- A Bestiary Of My Heart: Cautionary Tales, InkerMen Press, UK, 2011
- Wild California: Stories, Five Leaves Press, UK, 2004
- The Secret Life Of Puppets, Harvard University Press, 2002
- On Writer’s Block, Houghton Mifflin, 1993
Affiliation MFA Creative Writing