Sunday, January 23, 2011

Unless It Moves the Human Heart

Wonderful title for Roger Rosenblatt's book with the subtitle, The Craft and Art of Writing. This is a slender book which follows a single class taught by Roger Rosenblatt in the MFA Writing program at SUNY-Stony Brook on Long Island. The twelve class members ranged in age from 20 to over 60. The book contains some good pointers about writing, some good quotes to remember and pass on. That includes the title which say the only reason to write a short story or poem is to "move the human heart." For Rosenblatt, I think that is the only reason to teach also.

I loved Rosenblatt and his students and I felt profoundly envious and sad. In college I took writing courses, of course, and later was in playwrighting classes in NYC non-academic venues. In the latter situation there were sometimes the friendships and cares among students and teacher that I find in Rosenblatt's class. But in college no, none of that. Absolutely nothing helpful that I can remember, nothing that touched me, nothing that inspired me to write. I continued writing because I wanted to, needed to, never thought of ceasing to write. But I learned nothing. How wonderful a class like Rosenblatt's would have ben! Not one professor/teacher with personality, with a desire to inspire students back then -- lo, fifty years ago! I hope there are many other Rosenblatts out there today.

1 comment :


June -- I respect Roger Resenblatt so I know I am going to pick up this little book. I am off to check Amazon right now -- barbara