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Peter Grandbois is a professor of creative writing at Denison University in Ohio, as well as a senior editor of Boulevard Magazine. Grandbois has written several novels, poems, plays, and essays. | SUBMITTED PHOTO

Writing is not just for dead geniuses

Professor-writer Peter Grandbois examines how his teaching and writing fit together, shares what he’s learned about writing over the years and discusses how his latest book of poetry came about.

Deanna Benyo
Apr 6, 2018 · 13 min read

“I am inspired by my students. Just having the conversation about writing and about great books and great stories and poems inspires me and sometimes leads me to projects.”

Do you think that your teaching feeds into your writing or your writing feeds into your teaching?

“The idea of being a writer, that seemed like … you had to be this dead genius person, that was a writer. I couldn’t possibly do it.”

“I came from a sort of working class family. Neither of my parents went to college. We didn’t have a lot of books around our house, we had a lot of TV. So, the idea of being a writer, that seemed like … you had to be this dead genius person, that was a writer. I couldn’t possibly do it. So that fear kept me away from it for a while, but I did write off and on in college as an undergraduate. And then was rejected promptly a couple times by the University of Colorado literary magazine, and so, gave up writing for a while thinking I was untalented and couldn’t do it.

“Something just clicked in me, and I realized that time was wasting, that I was getting older, and if I didn’t start doing something with this thing that I loved, I would never do it.”

“Then I got involved with life. I was into the sport of fencing for a while, I did a lot of different jobs, I started a family — well, I got married, anyway. Then somehow, about a month after my first child was born, I started to write again. And something just clicked in me, and I realized that time was wasting, that I was getting older, and if I didn’t start doing something with this thing that I loved, I would never do it. So I overcame my fear, this fear that I wasn’t good enough or wasn’t smart enough, and just started writing.”

“I’ve reached a point in life where poetry is the form that speaks most directly to the human spirit. … I think it’s been the form that’s probably most connected with those deepest parts of ourselves, and gives us the most direct access to that, and I want to write that.”

Are you continuing to write poetry?


BETHEL EDITING

A blog by Bethel University (St.

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