Report from CCCC 2015, Tampa Florida: “Creative Writing in America: Considering the Past, Imagining the Future”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.58.44 AMEditor’s Note: We’re in the midst of reports on AWP panels, but we wanted to make sure that this presentation from the recent CCCC conference wasn’t lost: it’s an incredibly important part of the conversation.

This Saturday morning panel, chaired by Rebecca Manery (University of Michigan), began with a nod to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of respondent Joseph Moxley’s (University of South Florida) foundational collection Creative Writing in America: Theory and Pedagogy. While Anne Ruggles Gere and Stephanie Vanderslice were not able to be present, Patrick Bizzaro (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) opened the panel with an excerpt from his essay in progress, “Poetry, Post-expressivism, and the Evolution of Writing in the University.” Positing that there still is a lack of agreement on the definition and function of creative writing in the university, Bizzaro argues that composition studies has appropriated creative writing, and thus excludes creative writing from participating in the ongoing writing activities taking place across the disciplines. However, many writers continue to publish rhetorical-poetic texts that reveal how creative writing might be used as a tool for intellectual engagement. Bizzaro calls this “quantum rhetoric,” a post-expressivist rhetoric that offers diverse disciplines a way of naming and understanding new phenomena. The skills taught in creative writing classes are unique; their application to disciplines outside of English studies (such as the STEM disciplines) has great potential that is only just beginning to emerge. Thus, this quantum rhetoric contributes to the evolution of writing in the university. In this way, Bizzaro urges a far more expansive definition of creative writing, and a far deeper look into exactly how the elements of poetic discourse can be used by students and scholars to think and learn.

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