R281. The Natural Writer: Unschooling the Creative Writing Classroom

Room 409 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 31, 2016
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Can writing be untaught? Sometimes, the institutional setting of the creative writing classroom can foster a lack of risk-taking by positioning participants as dutiful students rather than daring artists, failing to ignite creative agency. Panelists committed to a variety of unschooling approaches that take writing outdoors discuss their pedagogies and practices for students, including the Walking Classroom, the Poetry Boat, and Four Roaming Elemental Excursions (F.R.E.E.).



Heidi Lynn Staples is the author of three poetry collections and and the memoir Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake. Coeditor of Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoetry Thinks Climate Change, she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

Jonathan Skinner founded the journal ecopoetics. In addition to numerous ecocritical essays on postwar poetry, his publications include the poetry collections Chip Calls, Birds of Tifft, Warblers, and Political Cactus Poems. He teaches in the writing program at the University of Warwick.

Michael Martone teaches writing at the university in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes himself as well, mostly about himself, Indiana, and being born there, and about writing and writing about writing.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of three books, most recently Revolution, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She received three Pushcart Prizes and a Creative Capital Grant. Her next book is forthcoming.

Jessica Smith serves as library chair and English teacher for Indian Springs School, where she runs its visiting writers series. She is the author of Organic Furniture Cellar and Life-List.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center