What Ignites Drew’s Writing Professors?

Reading, landscapes and poetry.

January 2019 – What ignites a writer?

This simple question elicited a range of responses from three professors and accomplished writers in Drew University’s Creative Writing program, who gathered in Mead Hall to read their work and answer questions from students and community members. It was all part of Writers@Drew, a series supported by the English Department and the Casement Fund. Here’s how each professor replied.

Courtney Zoffness

Teaches fiction, creative nonfiction and contemporary literature

“The other media: books. This probably sounds obnoxious to say, but I don’t get writer’s block; I’m never at a loss for things to say. If I can’t figure out how to get into the material, though, reading others’ prose is always the best way for me.”

Hannah Beresford

Teaches poetry

“For my current project, landscape is really the place that I need to access to build in my mind the world in which those events happen. So, I do that any number of ways—any way I can consume that. And I don’t know if it’s part of my psychological evolvement, but the landscape of Oklahoma is very charged for me and very haunting. So, anytime I can tap into the landscape, the rest of it comes for me.”

Andrea Chapin

Teaches fiction and creative nonfiction

“Poetry. I’m not a poet but I keep stacks of poetry books by my bed. Sometimes I read poems before I go to sleep. Hopefully, they get to some parts of my brain! If I’m feeling stuck, I will start reading poetry and it never fails to inspire me because of the language and the words.”

For more on the Creative Writing program, please click here.

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