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I Was Wrong… sort of

I posted a response to Geoffrey Sirc's "Box Logic" (Writing New Media, 2004) that might have been my reaction to his essay, but I also think I didn't quite understand the essay.

Hearing Prof. Sirc speak on November 27, 2007, I realized his theories were not far from my own, at least within creative writing, which might have been why I didn't sense any "revelation" in the essay. At the same time, the links between art theory and composition that escaped my comprehension when reading were much much clearer during the visual and oral presentation.

However, I also don't complete agree these approaches help in a college composition course meant to teach academic norms.

This leads to an interesting question: why would I be thrilled by his presentation, but utterly flummoxed by a text? Why did the text leave me confused and disappointed, while hearing Prof. Sirc was fascinating?

I think it is important to admit -- Sirc's ideas are interesting. Not because they are new, but because someone considered an expert is willing to say what I have been thinking for years: We don't teach composition in a manner that will captivate and inspire students. But, what they must write at a university is not necessarily exciting in form to many students.

Sirc gives me a reason to keep doing what I do. Pushing limits is necessary; we cannot give in to a series of "reforms" that move us backwards as a university. I hope I manage to have his ability to keep up the fight; I'm used to resignation after so many failed attempts to change things.

Of course, you can't suggest students start writing poetry for their poli-sci or engineering papers.


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