Heading back to school this fall?

Four writers share advice from their influential writing teachers.
Published: August 1, 2013


ruler001“A professor of mine at the University of Arizona, Jason Brown, taught me that 90 percent of writing is revision, as well as the importance of never settling for good enough. Eventually, through his modeling, I learned how to polish my stories at the sentence level.”
—David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals

“My most important writing teacher was my father. He told me to always remember the five senses when writing, not just what something looked like, but what it felt like – how it sounded, smelled, tasted.”
—Alysia Abbott, Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father

“Bernard Malamud, who taught at Bennington College, told us about the importance of routine – how you never were to wait for the Muse, because the Muse would not appear unless you were already working. That’s how you write. That’s how the work takes shape. Hour after silent hour, day after day.”
—Roxana Robinson, Sparta

“No teacher taught me about writing, but a number of teachers, quite early on, taught me a good deal about life. Thank you, Mr. Stegelmeyer, Mrs. Edwards, Mr. Edminston, Fred Burr, Sam Parkman, Charles Blitzer: You shaped how I saw the world and – Blitzer here – exactly how much cream to put in my coffee.”
—Leslie Epstein, Liebestod