CFP: The Nonfiction of Social Justice

imageWriters: we have work to do.

This week in the wake of our election’s results, the Assay staff decided that while we would still like to have a focus on Best American Essays in our spring issue (to continue our celebration of BAE’s 30th anniversary), we would like to fill our pages with the nonfiction of social justice. We’re looking for full scholarly articles, we’re looking for informal analysis, we’re looking for pedagogy of all sorts, the incredible variety of forms that Assay likes best. We’re looking for the voices we need now, more than ever.

Who are the writers of color we need to read (and teach), now more than ever?

The LGBTQ writers we need, now more than ever?

The environmental writers, as we struggle against the future incarnations of the EPA? Who are the other voices about to be marginalized even further?

What are the particular texts, the individual essays, the full-length books? What lesson plans have you developed? Perhaps an explication of a nonfiction assignment? What did you read with your students this week when you tossed out your original plan?

Assay’s spring issue comes out in March, a few weeks after AWP in Washington, DC, which is a few weeks after Inauguration Day. In the face of feeling helpless and powerless, putting our words into the world to support each other is our best way of moving forward.

Our deadline is January 1, though we are actively reading now. You will find our submission guidelines here.

Please share this call widely with your colleagues and students.

Writers: We have work to do.



Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 2.05.48 PMThe exponential increase in Creative Writing degrees and programs at the undergraduate and graduate level has been well-documented, and much thought and scholarship has been devoted to the impact the Academy has on the writing community and subsequent creative output. However, there has been only a limited amount of public conversation about and research into the pedagogical approaches that have been or might be used in Creative Writing classrooms and programs. How are teachers of Creative Writing tweaking, extending, revolutionizing, or replacing the traditional Workshop model in their classrooms? What are or should be the academic and aesthetic goals of a Creative Writing class or program, and how can these goals be achieved? For this conference we are seeking papers that discuss theories that inform creative writing pedagogy, strategies and practical applications in the Creative Writing classroom, development of curriculum at the program level, and pedagogical innovations beyond the classroom.

Click here for the link to the conference site.


Assay is delighted to facilitate panel reports from CWIPs, so that those who are not able to attend (or who have flipped a coin for which panel to attend at a certain time) are able to participate. Feel free to sign up for more than one panel, more than one day. Our goal is to cover as many of these as possible. Use the comment feature to let us know which one you want–and then we’ll cross it off the list, so we don’t double-up.

Because of cross-genre work often invigorates our work as nonfiction writers, readers, and teachers, we’re not limiting our reports to pedagogy of nonfiction.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

10:00 am – 11:00 am

  • “Reading Weird: Teaching Experimental Fiction in the Creative Writing Classroom.” (Lindsay Fowler, Carlea Holl -Jensen, Camille Goodison, Adam Miller, Debra Brenegan)
  • “Is Writing Therapeutic?: Navigating Student Catharsis in the Creative Writing Classroom.” (Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, Mark Lewandowski, Amy Meng, Michael Theune, Cindy King)

11:15 am – 12:15 pm

  • “Teaching Strange: The Impossible Art of Poetic Weirdness” (José Angel Araguz, Ryler Dustin, Micheline Maylor, Alyse Bense l, Hadara Bar-Nadav)
  • “Stories and Poems as Products: Gaining a Sense of Audience by Pursuing an Actual Audience.” (Jennifer E. Pullen, Ron Mitchell , Karen Craigo, Rachel Haley Himmelheber, Jenna Bazzell)

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

  • “Collaborative Writing and the Hypoxic Workshop.” (Amy Ash, Kristin Joi Coffey, Nathaniel Hansen, Ann McBee, Matt Sumpter)
  • “The Flipped Workshop: Using Technology to Facilitate Learning Creative Writing.” (Trent Hergenrader, Michael Pritchett, Brian Shawver, Matt Weinkam, Kavita Hatwalkar)

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

  • “Motivation and the Creative Writing Classroom.” (Amy Knox Brown, Darin Ciccotelli, Claire Eder, Gabrielle Pullen, Rob Roensch, Marcus Wicker)
  • “Writing Abhors a Vacuum: Teaching Special Topics in Creative Writing.” (Bayard Godsave, Trudy Lewis, Brani Reissenweber, Stephanie Reents, John Vanderslice)

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

  • “Teaching Experiments.” (Kelle Sills Mullineaux, Deonte Osayande, Alexander Weinstein)
  • “Inspiration: The Benefits of Irrational Thinking.” (Rose Bunch, Lynne Landis, Garry Craig Powell, Sandy Longhorn)

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

  • “Incorporating Research in Creative Writing Pedagogy.” (Mark Spitzer, Stephanie Vanderslice, Lea Graham)

Assay Annual Report: Year 1

It’s hard to believe that Assay’s first year of publication is in the bag, with two spectacular issues forging new paths in nonfiction conversation. We returned from AWP and the panels we heard confirms our mission as a magazine: we’re having these conversations, truly excellent discussions of what our genre is doing, and those conversations need a permanent home. We’re glad to be a part of that work. Here are some of the successes we’re most proud of from this year: Continue reading

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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AWP2015: Genre 2.0: Game Based Learning and Creative Writing

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PM
The panel was moderated by Long Chu, who runs Writers in Schools in Austen Texas, he also acted as a participant. Writer in Schools hires writers in all genres who go into K-12 schools and teach students, often students of disadvantaged backgrounds, to enjoy and appreciate reading and writing creatively. His fellow panelists were Michael Angst, a poet and the founder of E-Line Media, a game company that makes educational and commercial entertainment games with a learning outcome emphasis, and Rick Brennan, a game designer and former history teacher who designed the history game Historonics.

Continue reading