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The instructor will be available through email and Canvas throughout the week.This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, Ph D.
Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas.
He received his Ph D in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.
As Tajja Isen describes in “Tiny White People Took Over My Brain,” such men had become the “imagined judge and jury”—if not also Watkins’s actual judge and jury, writing her first glowing reviews.
This is one way conventional workshops ensure structures of power are reproduced.
I absorbed the verdict as truth even though the disdain felt like snobbery: I would never tell someone they were wrong to love what they loved.
It wasn’t that I wanted to please my professor—I’d already voiced my dissatisfactions with his course.What I wanted was to master the social mores of a culture that, in some unconscious and unexamined sense, I’d entered the MFA program to join: the culture of the tastemaking class.It wasn’t despite but the shame I experienced that the first creative writing courses I taught reproduced the canon of that program almost exactly.Students will be required to turn in multiple drafts of their original short story and wait for personal feedback from the instructor before turning in a final draft of the work.In addition, students will write ten poems and explore various types of non-fiction essays and newswriting.I wasn’t yet paying attention to the connection between the problematic constructs of “bad grammar” and “bad taste.” I was still a student of “good taste” myself.We should grab readers by the collar and never let go, I learned.So maybe it’s not so shocking that a writer might publish two acclaimed books before looking down at her own work and realizing that all along, she’d been pandering to old white men.This is what Claire Vaye Watkins unpacks in “On Pandering”: the troubling discovery that her “hard, unflinching, unsentimental prose,” and the details she wrote—like a “nubile young girl left for dead in the desert”—reflected her teachers’ ideals, not her own.Never be sentimental, and avoid “purple prose.” Great emotion manifests only indirectly, we were told.When a frustrated classmate in my MFA program declared himself a maximalist, I chose to pity him.