Tana Wojczuk is a writing teacher, with a focus on the essay. Her classes often incorporate readings from American Studies and intersect with her work in cultural criticism. She teaches writing at NYU and formerly taught essay writing courses at Columbia University themed around American Studies and Writing and the Law.

Media: Interview with Phililp Lopate on “Making Your Essay Your Own” from The Morningside Review, Columbia’s Journal of Undergraduate Writing.

Read the accompanying introduction at The Morningside Review

2 Comments on “Teaching

  1. I have a thought about this approach to essay writing where the writer is not wholeheartedly behind the essay. In other words, the author invents a character that has a point of view, a life of circumstances or experiences that he or she does not have or hold. Some one asked a question about the balance between creative essay writing and more formal styles and Mr. Lopate suggested that essay writing is inherently creative. But I think, while that may be true, it misses the point of the question, or at least the point as I heard it. If an essay writer invents a character to express a voice for a mind of ideas that are not his or her own it seems to me that this is simply fiction, a short story of sorts. It’s not an expansion of the form but a blurring of the lines with an already well established form.

  2. I mean, like, as if there is supposed to be a recognizable form at all. I’m imagining a three dimensional continuum, a cosmic Venn diagram, that all forms of writing would fit into and all their characteristics could be accounted for. The point of course is to allow for everything and anything, especially invention and origination, which are good things in my opinion. No form defined but by that which is taken is so defined. Something like that. But defined form is good too, obviously. And good form requires a mold, does it not? And if you break the mold, or change it in some important way, then what have you of the original form. It’s is irrevocably changed, confused at least if not outright lost entirely.

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