Dr John Clarke

Teaching

I don't draw a line between creative and critical writing, but see them as part of a continuum across which exciting work happens, particularly so at the point where the two approaches meet and blend. As all literary endeavour is dialogue—the more people you talk to and read the more interesting your writing becomes—I place significant emphasis on analysing and inhabiting the ways in which exemplary writers have approached the questions I’m asking my students to address. How can you write well if you don’t know how the best practitioners have solved the problems you’re trying to solve? 

 

Creating a rich research context in which to write is central to my practice. My latest poetry collection, Landfill, saw me research the waste processing industry, history of waste management and the archaeology of the midden. Consequently, as a teacher I try to help students find the right personal research contexts in which they can make their best creative work.  While inspiration may strike the writer, they also needs techniques that enable them to surprise themselves into creativity, so I also place emphasis on the importance on playing seriously with language. Writing may be arduous, but it should also be exciting to make.  

 

Dr Clarke is a Fellow of Higher Education Authority. 

 

 

Modules taught