Visiting Affiliate Assistant Professor of Writing
Every moment, I am, without wanting or trying to, telling you to write like me. But I hope you learn to write like you.
Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town
About Me: I teach WR100 Effective Writing, and I’m co-advisor to two of our student-run literary journals, the Garland and the Forum. I earned two Master of Fine Arts degrees in Creative Writing, and my specialty is in poetry writing. I also write and teach creative non-fiction. I publish under the name J.D. Knight.
I mark up your papers. I circle, I draw arrows, and I write squiggles. But I don’t use a red pen. I love paper, the feel of it under my fingers. And typewriters, those holdovers of an earlier, bygone era. Their familiar clicks and clacks were once a comforting noise in my house. At 8, I’d lug around the old, gray typewriter my mother found for me. I’d swear it weighed almost as much as I did at the time. I wrote short poems on it and other notes my mother tucked away for safe-keeping. Now, the clickity typewriter’s sounds are replaced by the soft ticks of laptop keys. Not quite as thrilling, but they come with the ease of a nearby thesaurus. While I’m converting to electronic submissions, I’m not quite there yet. For beginning writers, I think you need to see your words off the screen and on the page. You need the tactile feeling of paper in your hands.
As Hugo says, I want you to write like you. In my WR100 classes, you will learn to hone your voice into meaningful, descriptive prose. You will write informative, narrative, and argumentative drafts that you will revise under each essay’s cycle. This is not a test-based course; it is text-driven. What you learn in each cycle is carried forward so that you can see that writing is a process. You will participate in several peer review sessions. The constructive criticism of your peer groups is integral to the writing process because it allows you to see what is working well and what needs work. By the end of the term, you will see your voice transform from thoughts to points of discovery to claims you can attempt to prove through logic and reason.
For more information, please see my curriculum vitae in PDF.