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ERIC Number: EJ843824
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1175-8708
"Poetry Makes Nothing Happen:" Creative Writing and the English Classroom
Morgan, Wendy
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v5 n2 p17-33 Sep 2006
This paper examines the processes of creative writing, exploring in particular how intuition and analysis, unconscious and conscious, work together, and how the social and the personal are involved in these processes. The author discusses her experience of writing a sustained narrative poem with lyrical elements, and then as a teacher-educator discusses the implications for our understanding of the creative processes and classroom practice. Following the work of Csikszentmihalyi and colleagues (1994, 1996), the paper traces how not only personal but also social, cultural and disciplinary factors are at play in the development of the work. The first of these is the domain of knowledge and practice that has preceded the creative writer and must be mastered before s/he is in a position to innovate on the established norms. Next comes the "problematic" or dissonance, which arouses the psychic energy that engages both the conscious, analytical activities of the mind and its intuitive, even unconscious sphere. (Intuition is taken to refer to those more diffuse mental activities that are a-logical, non-analytical, associative, aesthetic and metaphoric.) As the work develops, the various processes are described and shown to be recursive: incubation (during which ideas churn around below the threshold of consciousness), insight (the "eureka" moment, when the pieces of the puzzle fall together), followed by evaluation of the idea (for its appropriateness and elegance, given the problematics) and the elaboration of the idea into a more fully worked out poem. After drafting, the field of experts is engaged--those who act as gatekeepers to determine whether the creative idea, product or process will be accepted into the domain. The paper concludes by arguing for the value of creative writing in English classrooms. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A