Writing Across Genres

The theory goes like this: writing is hard enough without trying to write in more than one genre.

In other words, if you want to excel at any kind of writing, you are better off focusing your efforts on one type. The skills required to be a poet, after all, are not the same as those required to be a short-story writer or a novelist. Flitting from genre to genre probably ensures that you never get very good at any of them.

These are not unreasonable arguments.

Still, I disagree with them.

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On Teaching Poetry Writing

There is a popular perception that poetry writing classes are a breeze both for students and  professors.

Nope. Students often find the classes highly challenging, and I almost always find teaching creative writing far more difficult than teaching any other kind of class.


If I tell my students that to write a good poem requires x, y, and z, and that their draft lacks one or more of those elements, some portion of the students will mightily resent it.

I get that. I really do. A poem can feel very personal, so an “attack” on the poem can seem like an attack on the person.

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