Redefining the Art of Response

jonathan lovell's blog

Redefining the Art of Response

“And thus do we, of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and essays of bias,
By indirections find directions out”

Hamlet, Act II, scene 1, lines 63-65

You know how it is with a class that’s gone unexpectedly well. Gone a lot better than you’d anticipated.

You’re convinced it was an accident. The gods were smiling on you.


The law of unintended consequences broke in your favor. It was a fluke. It will never happen again.

This is how it’s always been with me in my use of Peter Elbow’s prompts for responding to others’ writing (Writing Without Teachers, pp. 85-92).


I was fortunate enough to be introduced quite early in my career to the idea of giving “movies of one’s mind” in response to the writing of a fellow writing group member. It came at a point when I had, more…

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