Upcoming Panel at CCCC

Hello all.  If you happen to be traveling to St. Louis for the 4 Cs conference this week, I want to let you know that my Dispatches co-editor, Joe Rein, and I will be taking part in a panel on Friday afternoon at 3:30 titled “The Hybrid TA: Composition, Rhetoric, and Creative Writing.”  I’ll be reading a paper titled “Dealing at the Crossroads: Creative Writing in the Composition Classroom.”  (The title of my paper in the CCCC program is wrong, just to clarify.)  Details are below.  Hope to see you there!

Session Title: “The Hybrid TA: Composition, Rhetoric, and Creative Writing”
Location: America’s Convention Center, Room 221, Level 2
Date/Time: Friday, March 23, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

An excerpt from “The Front”

With hair still dripping from his morning shower, Alvin pulls on his flared jeans and a Grand Funk T-shirt.  After a quick zit-check in the hallway mirror, he finds his mom in the kitchen washing holiday dishes.  She’s overweight, but not grossly so, and wears brown pants of some synthetic weave with a floral blouse.  The flesh on her biceps wiggles as she wrestles with the roasting pan.

“Morning, Mom.”

She doesn’t turn.  “Morning, Alvin.”  Then, after a beat, “There’s some ham left in the fridge from yesterday if you’re hungry.”  Her voice sounds scratchy, but he wants to ignore it.  She cries sometimes.

“Everything okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine,” she says, but he sees her shoulders tighten as the Caterpillar revs its engine down by the highway.  “It’s just—the TV’s so sad this morning.”

“What’s on?” he asks, moving toward the family room to find Walter Cronkite narrating over a montage of film clips on the Zenith.

…assumed the presidency after the death of Franklin Roosevelt and guided our nation to the final cessation of hostilities with Germany and the Empire of Japan.  He’d been ill and in the hospital for most of the month, and doctors revealed yesterday that he’d slipped into a coma.  Again, this morning brings news that Harry Truman, thirty-third president of the United States, has died.  And now, for further—”

The war photographs shown over Cronkite’s narration are similar to the black and white picture nestled among the clot of family photos on top of the television set.  One of them shows Alvin’s dad beside the rubble of a bombed-out house during World War II.

Alvin steps back into the kitchen.  “What did he die of?”

“They’re not sure yet, sweetie.  At his age, who really knows?”  She smiles now, and if she has been crying, he can’t tell.  If only she wouldn’t call him sweetie.

“Is dad already working down at the old house?”

She scrubs at the pan.  “He said to come down as soon as you’re dressed.  And to make sure you put on your rubber boots.  It’s muddy.”

Outside, a warm breeze surprises him, and the thermometer hanging beside the wind chime shows seventy-two degrees.  Alvin can’t remember ever going without long sleeves so late in the year.  The Christmas tree is already lying naked on the brush pile, the victim of his dad’s work ethic. He can see Dad across the pond, pacing around the Cat, occasionally gesturing to its driver, Lovell Potter, who has lived just down the road since before Alvin was born.  Alvin likes Lovell, who is a volunteer fireman with Dad, but has lived in constant fear of Lovell’s son for most of his life.  Shane Potter has harassed Alvin since the third grade, but the last year and a half has been blissfully Shane-free, thanks to President Nixon.  Alvin wonders if Shane enjoys tormenting the North Vietnamese as much as he did his neighbor.  Not that his absence had led to any sort of social renaissance for Alvin.  Antagonist or no, Alvin feels radically incompatible with most public situations, preferring the solitude of his albums and books, along with Mission: Impossible on Saturdays and Mannix on Sundays.

© Chris Drew 2012

Dispatches from the Classroom release event at Boswell Books this Thursday!

Hi everyone.  While it’s a bit after the actual book release (thank you, academic calendar), I wanted to let you know that Dave, Joe, and I will be having an official release event for Dispatches this weekend at Boswell Books next Thursday, the 26th, at 7:00 p.m.  If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by.  We’re planning to keep the reading to a minimum and focus instead on an open discussion of creative writing pedagogy.  And of course, we’d like to extend a big “thank you” to Boswell for hosting.  Hope to see you there!


Release Event for Dispatches from the Classroom
Thursday, January 26th at 7:00 p.m
Boswell Books
2559 N Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 332-1181

Upcoming MLA Panel

If you happen to be attending the MLA conference in Seattle next week, I’ll be chairing a panel this Tuesday, January 8th, at 10:15 a.m. titled “Sound and Voice in the Creative Writing Classroom: Practice-Based Pedagogies.”  If you’re looking for some good, practical exercises for your CW class, this is the session for you.  Check out the full details (including the amazing panelists) here:

Dispatches has landed!

Just wanted to let you all know that the book I edited with two of my esteemed colleagues, Joseph Rein and David Yost, has finally hit bookshelves (both physical and virtual).  Dispatches from the Classroom: Graduate Students on Creative Writing Pedagogy is officially available, and chock full of great advice for teaching creative writing.  We’re quite proud of it (and of the fantastic contributors we managed to pull together), so do please check it out.  You can find it on the website of Continuum Books, or on Amazon.



Thanks for stopping by my website.  I’ve set up this site to serve as a home-base for my various writings and other academic activities.  Check back often, as more content will be coming soon!

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