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The Essential Don Murray

Lessons from America's Greatest Writing Teacher

By Donald Murray, University of New Hampshire, Edited by Lisa Miller, Edited by Thomas Newkirk, University of New Hampshire
Afterword by Chip Scanlan

Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher

Don Murray’s mission was to demystify writing by revealing as much as possible about the habits, processes, and practices of writers. This book carries on his work and shows the evolution of his thinking by collecting his most influential pieces as well as unpublished essays, entries from his daybook, drawings, and numerous examples of his famous handouts.

KEY WORKS ON WRITING IN ONE COLLECTION

Writing as Process: How Writing Finds Its Own Meaning · The Listening Eye: Reflections on the Writing Conference · Teaching the Other Self: The Writer’s Read More


Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher

Don Murray’s mission was to demystify writing by revealing as much as possible about the habits, processes, and practices of writers. This book carries on his work and shows the evolution of his thinking by collecting his most influential pieces as well as unpublished essays, entries from his daybook, drawings, and numerous examples of his famous handouts.

KEY WORKS ON WRITING IN ONE COLLECTION

Writing as Process: How Writing Finds Its Own Meaning · The Listening Eye: Reflections on the Writing Conference · Teaching the Other Self: The Writer’s First Reader · Write Before Writing · Writing Badly to Write Well: Searching for the Instructive Line · All Writing is Autobiography · and more

60 years of work and wisdom: THE ESSENTIAL DON MURRAY

Don Murray on…

teaching writing as process, not product

"Instead of teaching finished writing, we should teach unfinished writing, and glory in its unfinishedness. We work with language in action. We share with our students the continual excitement of choosing one word instead of another, of searching for the one true word. This is not a question of correct or incorrect, of etiquette or custom. This is a matter of far higher importance."

understanding the writing process

“The process of making meaning with written language can not be understood by looking backward from a finished page. Process can not be inferred from product any more than a pig can be inferred from a sausage. It is possible, however, for us to follow the process forward from blank page to final draft and learn something of what happens."

knowing the writer within

"There is always magic in this for me, and wonder because I do not know what I am going to say until it is said. The writer within is always a stranger, with a grin, a top hat and long, quick fingers which produce what was not there before. I shall never know this magic man well, although he has been with me for sixty years. He entices me with his capacity for surprise."

doing the work of writing

"Writing is primarily not a matter of talent, of dedication, of vision, of vocabulary, of style, but simply a matter of sitting. The writer is a person who writes."

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ISBN 978-0-86709-600-2 / 0-86709-600-4 / 2009 / 256pp / Paperback
Grade Level: K - College
*Price and availability subject to change without notice.

Contents

  1. Teach Writing as a Process Not Product

  2. Writing as Process: How Writing Finds Its Own Meaning

  3. Write Before Writing

  4. The Daybook

  5. Listening to Writing

  6. Voice of the Text

  7. Getting Under the Lightning

  8. Teaching the Other Self: The Writer’s First Reader

  9. Like Orwell, Essaying One’s Best

  10. Writing Badly to Write Well: Searching for the Instructive Line

  11. A Writer’s Canon Revisited

  12. Notes for Discussion: Paul Matsuda’s Creative Nonfiction Class

  13. Internal Revision: A Process of Discovery

  14. Don—Still the Copy Editor

  15. The Listening Eye: Reflections on the Writing Conference

  16. Don Drawing Don

  17. One Writer’s Secrets

  18. Where Was I Headed When I Left?

  19. A Writer’s Geography: One Writer at Work

  20. Notes on Narrative Time

  21. Two Poems

  22. All Writing Is Autobiography

  23. I Still Wait for the Sheets to Move

  24. The Importance of Making Snow

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Reviews

"A new book, "The Essential Don Murray: Lessons From America's Greatest Writing Teacher," (Heinemann 2009) carries on his work and shows the evolution of his thinking by collecting his most influential pieces as well as unpublished essays, entries from his daybook, drawings, and numerous examples of his famous handouts. The collection is edited by Thomas Newkirk, professor of English, and Lisa Miller, associate professor of English." —www.seacoastonline.com 

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