NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ879530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Poetry, Visual Design, and the How-To Manual: Creativity in the Teaching of Technical Writing
Welch, Kristen Dayle
English Journal, v99 n4 p37-42 Mar 2010
As a man of mystery, little is known about Titus Lucretius except that he was a 1st-century B.C.E. philosopher-poet who wrote an epic poem called "Of the Nature of Things" to explain the universe and people's place within it in strictly material terms. In the poem, Lucretius intertwines myths with scientific hypotheses to propose an Epicurean view of his world--an Epicurean view that is, by the way, much less hedonistic than people commonly know it to be. As an intriguing and little-known example of a crossroads between creativity and nonfiction writing, Lucretius's poem can be used to engage students in discussions about the contexts of how-to manuals they are called on to design in a middle school or high school classroom. This article shows that by using Lucretius's poetry as an example of rhetoric and visual language at play, students learned something about the way language embodies meanings that are controlled by culture, and they learned that visual design is a means of creating credibility and of enabling usability. They learned about the difficulty of translating a text and the difficulty of reducing key ideas to a few, simple terms. But most importantly, they learned that nonfiction writing assignments could be both creative and enjoyable.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A