My pedagogical orientation in creative writing workshops veers towards generation, rather than critique, and towards helping students develop their own practice as a way to think about and engage with the world. Unfortunately, many creative writing pedagogical approaches and texts focus on issues of craft as taught through a series of formulas. One of my good friends who teaches in the visual arts posted an exercise from Making & Being on Instagram, and I was intrigued enough to download the pdf preview (the full book will be released later this fall). What I found was a series of exercises, practices, and a larger methodology that have helped to transform my poetry workshop by empowering my students to connect their own writing practices to their greater aspirations to create change in the world.
My hope is that my students will see their reading and writing practices as an opening to, as adrienne maree brown writes in Emergent Strategy, “intentionally change how we live in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for.” As described by the authors, the pedagogies of the book “are committed to are action-oriented, contemplative, community and place-based, critical, co-created, socially just, and somatic.” I recommend this book to anyone teaching in the studio or workshop framework—or anyone looking to support students in constructing their own liberatory practices.