Alyse Knorr in Conversation with Leslie Bumstead, Aaron Winslow, and Tom Doyle

Alyse Knorr will read from her work on 1-26-18 at The Black Squirrel in Washington, DC 8:00PM. Join the event on Facebook.

Alyse Knorr, Author of Copper Mother

Alyse Knorr, Author of Copper Mother, Mega-City Redux, with her cat Promise

CL: Where was this photo taken?

In my apartment in Anchorage, AK, a few years ago. 

CL: How does it represent your creative life?

I usually write on my laptop on the couch, and my cat Promise usually joins me to help out. Creativity to me is about making “butt in chair” time when I can actually sit down and do the work. Creativity only happens when I make the space for it. (Cats are very good at forcing butt in chair time by literally pinning you down).

CL: Respond to the following popular quote on creativity?

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.” —Dorothy Parker

Alyse: I find myself thinking explicitly about “creativity” as a topic more often in my teaching life than my writing life. I consider myself a writer or a poet, not a “creative writer,” yet I teach something called “Creative Writing.” In the debate over whether creativity can be taught, I fall very firmly in the side of “Yes.” To teach creative writing is to help students tap into the creative potential that’s already there. It’s also to show them exactly what Parker is getting at here: that you need the wildness and spontaneity, but also the discipline and technique. Creativity is not just about having an awesome “idea,” it’s also about execution—a single sentence can be creative. I want my students to see that the labor of putting beautiful sentences together can be just as creative and fun as the wild flights of imaginative fancy. 

Leslie: Alyse, I so relate to this. And it reminds me that I often tell my students (and myself) that all writing is creative writing because you can write a beautiful sentence in any context. (Though I do think the general distinction is useful/important.) Students so often skip the “labor of putting beautiful sentences together” because they are focused on the awesome idea and haven’t realized the importance of foregrounding the language itself, and also because it is hard work.

Read the rest of the conversation →
Ask Alyse a question in the comments below her biography ↓ 

Alyse Knorr, Author of Copper Mother, Mega-City Redux, reading at The Black Squirrel in DC, The Creative Life

Alyse Knorr is an assistant professor of English at Regis University and editor of Switchback Books. She is the author of the poetry collections Mega-City Redux, Copper Mother, and Annotated Glass, as well as a history of the video game Super Mario Bros. 3. Visit her at

Books by Alyse Knorr at Bridge Street Books
2814 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 965-5200
image of storefront of Bridge Street Books, address 2814 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, best literary bookstore in Washington, DC

Where do you create your work? Share your story in the comments below, ask Alyse a question. Thank you—The Creative Life



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