The Right of Way

The back-to-back traffic accidents, on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, involving pedestrians and motor vehicles on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst reminded me once again how vulnerable walkers and bicycle riders are in our automobile-obsessed culture, even in a place specifically designed to be separate and protected from that culture.  When people imagine […]

My Blue Peninsula, Part Two

For most of the past 150 years, the world has known the poetry of Emily Dickinson almost entirely through the genre of the individual lyric poem.  Even during her lifetime, the few instances when her work appeared in print (in every case, apparently, without her foreknowledge), it was through the medium of the single, stand-alone […]

In Memoriam: Bartlett Hall

Built in the late 1950s, Bartlett Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to the school’s large and vibrant English Department, its award-winning Writing Program, renowned departments of Art History, Philosophy, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and numerous other programs, most of them associated with the University’s College of Humanities and Fine […]

Secession Fever?

Although the idea is hardly “sweeping the nation,” there are probably more efforts underway right now to form new, breakaway states, and even new republics, within the United States than at any other time since the Civil War.  According to a recent article in The Daily Beast: Five counties in Maryland want to form their […]

Back to School

Late August for academics is time to return to campus.  And returning to campus is, invariably, an occasion for thinking both about what one accomplished (and didn’t accomplish) over the summer and about what one needs to accomplish (and would like to accomplish) in the coming year. For me, it’s a good time to assess […]

Bike Writing in New York City

The launch last Monday of New York City’s much-anticipated bike-sharing program, the largest in the nation, set off a flurry of writing about biking in that city.  What most impressed me about the pieces, though, was not their number; it was the wide variety of media, modes, and styles used.  From the point of view […]

Ways of Seeing?

The old way of writing, at least in terms of U.S. schooling, was ALL text.  The new way often looks like ALL image.  What I want to do as a teacher is join the two, so that students learn to make genuinely multimedia compositions, ones in which they can practice the full intellectual and expressive […]

Writing with Maps

Here’s a short movie, exported from Keynote, about teaching writing with maps.  My goal was to collect examples of the kinds of maps that my students might create or use in their own writing about place.  Let me know what you think!  (There’s no audio on this one; as a couple of you have already […]