16. Six Investigative Homework Exercises for Encouraging Literary Citizenship
Mark Spitzer [+]
University of Central Arkansas
This chapter examines six investigative homework assignments that encourage the idea of literary citizenship and education through investigatory research that draws students out of their bubbles of isolation. Writing about something new in the news is one of these, offered in conjunction with my portrait-writing exercises for intro-level creative writing students. Composite novels by Harriet Beacher Stowe and Ken Kesey et alia provide historical perspectives on collaborative work. I also consider the Gen Ed curriculum at my university which provided occasion for justifying poetry exercises inspired by oppressed Afghan women. To address cultural concerns and critical thinking, POVs on literary citizenship are mentioned in relationship to work by Donna Steiner and Lori A. May. The objectivity of writers in general vs. journalists is discussed via Sanders’ theory of investigative poetry as is switching from the informed rant to the “be-good-for-something” assignment based on a proverb by Thoreau in cahoots with Hunter S. Thompson and bloggers gone viral. My experience with water quality issues is held as an example of how to fight City Hall as is Jean Genet speaking in the voice of the other. Gun safety is utilized to make the book’s final point regarding the use of discovery-oriented investigative writing as an act of literary citizenship. Ultimately, reflections on creative writing power through investigative and discovery-oriented teaching techniques come full circle in relationship to the direction of the future of creative writing pedagogy.