Joanna Kenyon

 

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About the teacher and writer: I see writing as a task with a thousand reasons. Whether writing prose or poetry, we are creating truth even as we unravel it. We shamelessly make ourselves into heroes, villains, fools, adventurers, detectives, lovers, philosophers, and sometimes ruthlessly venomous exacters of vengeance (or justice). We can live a thousands lives we do not have time for, just as we can strive to understand and appreciate the thousands of lives we do lead. We can solve puzzles, or puzzle out the solver, or spend an eternity simply looking at the world. We use words like clay, or words like the whittle that carves the clay. We can do all of that, I think.

 

I primarily write prose—both fiction and nonfiction—in my writing life, and tend to obsess on travel and “home,” interiority, narrative design, and the way different stories overlap. In addition, I went to graduate school at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where we talked about the commonality and difference of all media and genre. Since then, I also dabble in prose poetry, book-making, computer graphics, and photography.

 

I approach teaching creative writing much as I approach writing: I want to do it all, and I settle for what there’s time for. I feel that all writers should be free to try everything, perhaps even all at once, in an open environment. I also am a strong believer that to be a writer or artist, we must also be readers and critics; knowledge of craft only unlocks doors, or perhaps the better metaphor is that it helps us build the mansion, weatherproof the windows, test the integrity of our foundation, and design an interior where it feels good to belong. Thus, in my classes at WCC we study writing and we write—all forms and genres! And with joy that we get to create!

Sample class exercise:

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Samples of her work:

Click here to see a nonfiction piece she's proud of, which she wrote over a flurried weekend down in Ecuador.

Click here for a slightly weirder fiction piece that uses some of her signature image-work.