The Writing Workshop Note Book

(Nonfiction; Soft Skull Press, 2008)


This book’s subtitle places front and center the paradox of the ever-popular writing workshop: how the solitary, mercurial, deeply interior work of writing can be taught, or even encouraged, via an industrious process that has adopted its own name, “workshopping,” the gerund rudely standing in for a verb, as if there were no other words suitable for the weird alchemy that transpires inside the seminar room. For many years the chair of the School of the Arts Writing Division at Columbia University, and currently a professor of writing there, Ziegler leads poetry workshops for elite students, but he admits to the mystery: “I have been doing this for a long time,” he writes, “but I am not sure exactly what it is I do, so I never know if I will be able to do it well on any given day.”

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