If it is true—and I believe it is—that a new genre of scholarly discourse about English departments is about to appear, (Re)Writing Craft outlines the terms of that conversation. . . . the publication of this book signals a turn in English studies that reflects the recent emergence of writing programs as disciplines in many English departments across the country. . . . So accurate is his assessment that he could be talking about my department, or yours.
(Re)Writing Craft focuses on the gap that exists in many English departments between creative writers and compositionists on one hand, and literary scholars on the other, in an effort to radically transform the way English studies are organized and practiced today. In proposing a new form of writing he calls “craft criticism,” Mayers, himself a compositionist and creative writer, explores the connections between creative writing and composition studies programs, which currently exist as separate fields within the larger and more amorphous field of English studies. If creative writing and composition studies are brought together in productive dialogue, they can, in his view, succeed in inverting the common hierarchy in English departments that privileges interpretation of literature over the teaching of writing.
Mayers does an excellent job of not only remapping the territory in English studies, taking fuller measure of the role of textual production, but also presenting a useful discursive framework of craft criticism from which to begin a different disciplinary conversation.
A penetrating critique of English studies in the academy . . . provides an excellent history and overview of the current state of English studies. Written in a down-to-earth style with plenty of examples, this book will be accessible and interesting for readers at all levels.