As a pianist with experience teaching music, I find music and poetry inseparable companions. The repertoire of both pianist and poet consists of understanding the cadence, tone, and the art of the line. The pianist learns to balance the different lines of voices within the music. The poet takes it further by learning to interpret all the different voices and ideas—presenting clear lines on the page. However, this can also be done in academic literature and not only in creative writing. Creative writing is advanced writing, but it is all rooted in the crucial lessons of precision and exigency of basic composition of the English language.
After teaching multiple sections of Introductory to Creative at Indiana University and English 101 Introduction to College Writing at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I still find that teaching has always been a passion of mine, from introducing young children to the rudiments of music to phonetics. The necessities of clear ideas and precise language transcends all subjects. While creative writing and first-year composition writing may seem different at first, I believe that they are inseparable and inform each other. Both are rooted in critical reading, rhetorical analysis, and the ability to manipulate language. In my classroom, I strive to build a community where we participate in a world that’s full of unending and complex conversations. The most important lesson I could have the honor of teaching is one of rhetorical awareness and how our words can have emotional impact and greater consequence. The classroom remains an inimitable environment for collective discovery for both the students and teachers.
As an instructor with a background in both creative and analytical realms, I experienced the challenges and benefits of pursuing both—now I can attest to the fact that these binaries are obstructions to discovery. I would urge my students to listen, as I believe poetry, even literature, is still an oral/aural art. When we read poetry aloud, we can hear the author’s voice. When we read a piece of criticism aloud, we give space between the words that are not always easily accessible on the page. Encouraging students to discover the meaning in sounds themselves opens one avenue to understanding, which of course leads to other avenues. I believe that close-reading and listening to writing will instill the transformative power of paying attention, which is pivotal to understanding and appreciate literature. These skills are especially important to instill in burgeoning students. One is never too young or too old to be exposed to the multifaceted dimensions of creative writing. With a strong grasp of the rudiments of the English language, I believe that exposure to the creative arts is a necessary for the modern, well-rounded student.