The Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing

ayrescenter

In August 2014, I was hired by Elizabeth Ayres to teach intermediate and advanced online writing courses through her Center for Creative Writing.

The Center has been providing online writing instruction, hosting scenic writing retreats, and providing a community for both aspiring and seasoned writers for 25 years. Elizabeth Ayres’ approach to teaching is inspirational to me because, while my education in writing was all-around wonderful, I recognize that not everyone has had that privilege or positive experience in a workshop atmosphere. Elizabeth’s courses are communal and spirited, but there’s also a great emphasis on individualized feedback, from both peers and instructors. Rather than critique without direction, students are encouraged to pose questions to the class that they would like to see addressed in the feedback on their writing. This method results in every session being packed with suggestions and comments writers are most interested in receiving, and which can best serve them. We point out the strengths in a particular work and organize commenting around how to build not only to those strengths, but to the intentions of each author for his or her particular piece. It is refreshing, positive, and uplifting to serve other writers in this capacity, in this environment.

Ayres herself is an accomplished writer and teacher. She finds such joy in what she does, and, it seems, in nearly all things, as is evident in her writing. Of Ayres, Phillip Lopate wrote, “Elizabeth Ayres has thought long and hard about the writing process, and is one of the most seasoned and exemplary practitioners in the field of teaching writing.” Of her book Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers, which is chock full of writing exercises that are the backbone of the Center’s teaching philosophy, Lopate adds, “This book is an invaluable distillation of her insights and experiences. I cannot imagine any beginning or struggling writer not coming away with some inspiration from it.”

I teach The Writer’s Eye, and with Elizabeth’s help, I developed and launched two courses: Writing through Trauma to Truth and Poetry Writing: Between the Lines.

On April 18, 2017, I was appointed director of the Center.

For more information on the Center’s writing retreats and online writing courses, or to work with me privately, contact me.

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