Books I’m Teaching Now

Here are some of the books I’m teaching this semester with links to their listings on Amazon.  I am using the first three in my creative writing class.  Those that follow are from my English Grammar class for advanced majors in English; some of these students want to teach English in the secondary students and some want to enter the field of technical and business writing.

Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Exercises by Stephen Dunning and William Stafford is a book that I use when teaching creative writing.  The exercises here are quite straightforward and friendly.  Students have already composed found, headline, and letter poems in the class.

Good Poems, edited by Garrison Keillor, is a wide collection of contemporary and classical verse I’ve found useful for introductory courses in literature and creative writing.

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, is a excellent chronology of American short fiction and also useful in introductory courses.  When I teach short fiction writing, the stories in this collection serve as excellent models and staring points for imitation and elaboration.

Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey will be an introduction to diagramming sentences for those among the most fearful of my grammar students.


How the Write a Sentence and How to Read One by Stanley Fish is a nice focus on the limits and power of form in sentences.

In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction, edited by Mary Paumier Jones and Judith Kitchen, is a great collection of short essays; I begin each class reading one of these aloud, and then we discuss and focus on how the sentences contribute to the author’s purpose.

Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing by Constance Weaver is an excellent collections of essays on the most effective ways to teach sentence grammar.

Grammar for College Writing – A Sentence-Combining Approach by Don and Jenny Killgallon is a workbook designed to help students develop a more mature style.