Review from ETp 97
"In an attempt to bridge the gap between creative and academic writing, this book offers a challenging and unique view of writing pedagogy. The editors, Harriet Levin Millan and Martha C Pennington, are a poet and a scholar respectively. Both are involved in teaching writing at university level. The two chapters which they have written themselves (Part 1) frame a collection of contributions from a variety of writers and academics who seek to examine research perspectives on creativity in writing (Part 2), offer views on the creative practices of writers (Part 3) and reflect on creative writing pedagogy (Part 4). A final section (Part 5) attempts a broader context by examining such things as using travel for inspiration, how creativity can be assessed in college examinations and extending the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree beyond the boundaries of the United States.
The scope of the book and the range of contributors ensures that there is something for everyone who is interested in creative writing and in teaching writing to students. Here you will find everything from a discussion of the effect of brain diseases and their medical treatment on creativity, to suggestions for creativity enhancing tools and techniques, to using underworld myths as a metaphor for the creative process, to facilitating student collaboration and peer feedback in poetry writing workshops.
Sky Marsen’s chapter, ‘Detecting the creative in written discourse’, counters one common misconception about writing: that creativity is irrelevant to writing outside specifically creative disciplines. She argues that creative techniques help writers to get their point across to their readers, and that this is just as important in academic and technical writing as it is in writing which is more conventionally catalogued as ‘creative’, such as poetry.
I particularly enjoyed the short chapter ‘Keeping the creative pipes from freezing’ by Martha Silano. This is an essay on creativity which addresses the problems of not having time to write and lacking inspiration. Her premise is that, just as it is a good idea to leave a tap dripping in extremely cold weather so that the pipes won’t freeze, so a writer should write something every day, even if it is just a few notes, to keep the ideas flowing through the creative pipes.
This is a book to dip into again and again, and it is one that I thoroughly recommend."
Tel Aviv, Israel