Investigative Creative Writing - Teaching and Practice - Mark Spitzer

Investigative Creative Writing - Teaching and Practice - Mark Spitzer

12. Experience Investigative Eco-Fiction

Investigative Creative Writing - Teaching and Practice - Mark Spitzer

Mark Spitzer [+-]
University of Central Arkansas
Mark Spitzer is Associate Professor of Creative Writing in the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of 18 books, ranging from memoirs to novels to literary translations and collections of poetry. He is the editor of the award-winning Toad Suck Review (, a professor of creative writing, an authority on the notorious gar fish (See River Monsters, alligator gar episode), and the world expert on the poetry of Jean Genet. Other recent titles include the poetry collection, Inflammatosis: Polemic Poetry, Incendiary Prose, and Other Extremes of Love and War (Six Gallery Press, 2018); the young adult and children’s literature title, The Crabby Old Gar (Subversive Muse Press, 2018); the novel, Viva Arletty! Our Lady of the Egrets (Six Gallery Press, 2017); the nonfiction work, Beautifully Grotesque Fish of the American West (University of Nebraska Press, 2017); the literary translation The Genet Translations: Poetry and Posthumous Plays (Polemic Press, 2015), and the memoir, After the Octopus (Black Mountain Press, 2014).


Based on a PowerPoint presentation given at the 2015 Creative Writing & Innovative Pedagogies Conference at the University of Central Missouri, this chapter investigates the concept of “investigative eco-fiction.” Advocating field work and collaboration with experts as a way to derive first-hand information over traditional research, the point is made that a nonfiction-type experiential approach can be applied to fiction, and that environmental fiction is especially suited for investigatory process. The genre of fiction, however, is stigmatized in other fields and not always viewed as a legitimate means of communicating real-world problems, so innovative advice is offered on how to transcend expected barriers. Meanwhile, infiltration and immersion is encouraged along with providing actual practical solutions to problems. Edward Abbey’s “field work” is held as the prime example of this genre’s revolutionary potential to influence an audience as the real-time status of our planet’s disposition drives a metaphorical nail into our coffin. Images of fish and amphibian research support arguments.

Notify A Colleague


Spitzer, Mark. 12. Experience Investigative Eco-Fiction. Investigative Creative Writing - Teaching and Practice. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 151-162 Jan 2020. ISBN 9781781797181. Date accessed: 23 Mar 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34901. Jan 2020

Dublin Core Metadata