My goal in teaching creative writing is to have my students know more about themselves as writers and humans walking out of the classroom on the last day than they did walking in on the first. This is achieved by my dedication to, through exercises and discussions over the course of each semester, unearthing what exactly it is that they each believe and are obsessed with.
I hinge my teaching upon my students discovering more about who they are as writers and people and embracing that. No artist is ever as powerful as they are when they are channeling their individuality—whether that be shamelessly playing to their own aesthetic tastes or writing directly from the meat of their wound. Think Sylvia Plath’s Ariel or Maggie Nelson’s Bluets or Imogen Binnie’s Nevada or Toni Morrison’s Beloved. No human is better than they are when they wear their conviction on their sleeve.
"John Stintzi's style of teaching is both refreshing and engaging. I always looked forward to my mornings because I knew I was going to be in [John's] classroom again."
"[John] forced me to write something so raw and personal for the first time in my three years here at Stony Brook and I truthfully believe that it is one of my best works. Although it was a very hard thing to write, he helped me every step of the way and offered a lot of advice throughout the writing and revising process. He’s taught me how to take a story and look at it in a different point of view or focus on something else that changes the meaning of the story. I rarely say this about any writing instructor, but he has made me a better writer and truthfully a better person. I am very thankful for taking this course."
"I think I speak for the whole class when I say that John's class was something we looked forward to each week. It was a place where we all felt safe to be our [weird] selves. It was my favorite class I've taken and I feel very lucky to have been apart of it."
"I learned about authors that I hadn't heard of before, I learned about my own writing style, and I learned how to communicate constructive criticism and helpful questions in an appropriate manner. The professor's advice and attitude was one of the key components to this class being so well liked. [John] has a humorous and friendly demeanor, which does not take away from [their] literary intelligence, only adds to it."
Nobody Writes Poetry Like You
I taught 2 sections of an introductory poetry writing course for the Kansas City Arts Institute's Pre-College Art Lab (PCAL). In these classes, I focused on helping these students write poetry that comes out of their beliefs and obsessions.
Experimentalizing Your (Short) Fiction
This was an upper-level, undergraduate fiction workshop at Stony Brook University where we focused on looking at writing in different ways and thinking about what tools a writer has to tell stories with, and how we might shake ourselves free of our "natural" narrative impulses. We read widely the work of experimental writers as well as the experiments of each other, and thought a lot about stories as individuals, encouraging one another to listen for how they might wish to be told in a way that would make its resonances greater.
Introduction to the Art of Creative Writing
This undergraduate workshop, for a very diversely disciplined group of students at Stony Brook University, was intent on exposing these new writers to the many different forms writing (and art) can take. My goal was to break their preconceptions of what literature can be, to show them that whatever they had to say was welcome in whatever way they decided to say it. While focusing on poetry, fiction, and playwriting, many of the readings were picked to blend the boundaries between different forms of writing and art. (Examples: Matthea Harvey's If the Tabloids Are True, What Are You?, Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, Maggie Nelson's Bluets). They also were asked to attend and review three events throughout the term, which could be anything from readings to films to music concerts.
Young Artists and Writers Project
Taught Long Island high school students playwriting. Worked through the various craft elements (character, place, dialogue, etc.), encouraged and advised throughout their progress through writing and revising a play for submission to possibly be staged at the end of the term.