Inspiring Each Other

Student Collaboration in the Poetry Writing Workshop


  • Lisa Sewell Villanova University



poetry writing, reading, creative writing, teaching writing


Many writers begin as avid readers: reading can be the impetus and inspiration for their own work. In addition, many writers teach in undergraduate creative writing programs where they are confronted with students who do not share their relationship to reading or to language. This situation creates two problems: students aren’t engaged enough by language to make creative use of their reading and they lack a sense of authority that might allow them to be helpful critics of one another’s work. This essay explores and explains one strategy I have used in my undergraduate creative writing courses to address both issues. By asking my students to write creative responses to each other’s work, they learn to read more closely and carefully and also gain a sense of authority and competence in providing constructive criticism.

Author Biography

Lisa Sewell, Villanova University

Lisa Sewell holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.F.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. from Tufts University. Her most recent books are Name Withheld (Four Way Books), Long Corridor (7K Press), and Eleven More American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Poetics across North America, co-edited with Claudia Rankine (Wesleyan University Press). She has received grants from the Leeway Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown. She is Associate Professor in the English Department and Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at Villanova University.



How to Cite

Sewell, L. (2012). Inspiring Each Other: Student Collaboration in the Poetry Writing Workshop. Writing and Pedagogy, 4(2), 305-311.



Reflections on Practice