F275. Teaching Unteachable Books

E145, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Can we admit aloud as creative writing instructors that some books are "easier" to teach? Because they have a discernible project, or a trackable system, because they are representative of a school or poetics. Yes, but what about those other books that are cherished by our writer selves, key to our writing practices? Ones that are idiosyncratic or broken or inconsistent or unclassifiable or utterly outside of what gets called "craft." Do you, and how, keep such a book vital to teaching writing?



Brian Blanchfield is the author of three books of poetry and prose, most recently Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, winner of a 2016 Whiting Award. His book of poems, A Several World, received the 2014 James Laughlin Award. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho.

Leni Zumas is the author of two novels (Red Clocks and The Listeners) and a story collection (Farewell Navigator). She is the Director of Creative Writing at Portland State University.

Prageeta Sharma is the author of four poetry collections: Bliss to Fill, The Opening Question, Infamous Landscapes, and the recent Undergloom. She was a recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Award. She is a professor of English at the University of Montana.

Sara Jaffe is the author of the novel Dryland, and her short fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications. Beginning in Fall 2018 she will be Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Reed College. She is cofounding editor of New Herring Press.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of eleven novels, including Girl In Landscape and 2018's The Feral Detective. His fifth, Motherless Brooklyn, won the National Book Critic's Circle Award. In 2005 he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. 


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center