"What Would Happen If Everybody Behaved as I Do?": May Bush, Randall Jarrell, and the Historical "Disappointment" of Women WPAs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The feminized labor of composition studies is usually seen as being in service of, or subservient to, literary studies, ignoring composition's disaffective position against other fields, specifically creative writing. Viewing composition studies' complex labor histories in tandem with the meteoric rise of creative writing allows for a new way of historicizing writing instruction and writing program administrator successes and failures. Analyzing WPA work through an archival case study of one woman's college faculty postwar, specifically the WPA May Bush and the poet Randall Jarrell, illustrates how the disciplinary rise of composition and rhetoric against creative writing was fraught with gendered labor issues still relevant to the struggles of women WPAs today.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-39
Number of pages27
JournalComposition Studies
Volume39
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

Keywords

  • creative writing
  • written composition
  • writing instruction
  • colleges
  • history instruction
  • poetry
  • English departments
  • narratives
  • writers
  • literary criticism

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