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ERIC Number: ED457523
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Paradoxes and Contraries: Teaching and Writing as Life, Life as Teaching and Writing.
Weidner, Heidemarie Z.
In his book, "Writing with Power" (1981), Peter Elbow spends several chapters circling around the phenomenon of "voice." This paper argues that Peter Elbow's examinations of contraries and paradoxes--particularly those that concern writing voice and teaching--contain elements of "koan" practice. The paper suggests that to compare Elbow's approach with these Zen exercises may shed more than rational light on the business of teaching writing. It states that a "koan" is a "public case," i.e., the record of an ancient event and often involves the sayings of famous Zen masters and their dialogues with students, and that to the beginning Zen student, koans seem quirky and paradoxical. According to the paper, another aspect of consciousness needs to be engaged to reach any depth of insight into a koan--koans open up the intuitive, "direct knowing" aspect of consciousness. The paper considers that among the many contraries and paradoxes that Elbow explores in his book, the two that are most crucial are voice and teaching. It finds that just as a Zen teacher guides his students through koan exercises, Elbow steers writers along the path to "real voice," and if "real voice" is the koan at the center of writing, then "good teaching" is the koan at the center of the writing teacher's profession. The paper concludes that a Zen student lives by his or her koan, a writer writes, and a teacher teaches. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A