Through the Bricks and into a Book

By Kenneth DiMaggio.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Teaching writing and producing a publication in an institution such as a prison, is not that uncommon of a classroom for a language arts or writing teacher. But what about teaching a creative writing workshop in a home and hospital for U.S. Military veterans? As any literature teacher with a traditional anthology knows, stories of war have left their mark, ranging from Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” to Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” Less common, are the voices from veterans in either short or long term-recovery at a government facility, (and often a recovery taking place years after completing their military service). With the U.S. presently engaged in two wars, my hunch is we will see more workshops like the one I recently taught at The Rocky Hill Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. In this presentation, I will highlight the experiences I had as both teacher and also, uniquely, as a student of a non-traditional student group. I will look at how this 6-week workshop (that is presently entering its third semester) produced a book based on the themes of Reclaiming Lost Cultural Perimeters and Writing About The Opposite Gender.

Keywords: Teaching Writing, Producing a Publication, Institutions, Language Arts Teaching, Workshop in a Home for U.S. Military Veterans, Reclaiming Lost Cultural Perimeters, Writing About the Opposite Gender

International Journal of the Book, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.7-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 463.496KB).

Kenneth DiMaggio

Associate Professor of Humanities, Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

I am an Associate Professor of Humanities at Capital Community College in Hartford Connecticut. CCC is an urban community college where students are often reading at a level that is below traditional college course work, thus making literacy a prime issue that constantly needs to be addressed. Besides finding new ways to address literacy issues, I am also looking at how to create non-traditional models of writing instruction for the classroom. I have recently created such a classroom, at The Rocky Hill Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, for which my presentation will be based on. I have also been awarded a fellowship for Connecticut Community College instructors to do research at Yale University, with the focus on finding a way to internationalize your curriculum. I am presently doing research on a Madagascar-based exhumanation ceremony known as “Famadihana” and how it creates a discourse between the living and the dead. I am trying to use this model as a way to create a written discourse for students to relate their present with a past that often is seen as a foreign or even hostile subject.


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