The Herald recently sat down with Taylor Brorby to discuss his role as a new TRIAS Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow in the English Department and what projects he has been working on. He is teaching Creative Writing and is offering a course in Advanced Environmental Nonfiction Writing this semester.
A graduate of Iowa State University originally from North Dakota, Brorby taught for a year in Gettysburg, Pa. before taking the position here at Hobart and William Smith. He describes his position as similar to that of a visiting professor but also recognizes his role of mentorship with his students. His goal for his classes is to help make his students’ writing more effective in order to help them communicate the ideas they are passionate about in a way that captivates their readers and emphasizes the importance of their work.
Additionally, he is excited about the unique perspective he offers to students by being closer in age to them. Teaching, to him, allows him to learn just as much as those he’s instructing. He provides insight into how this particular path of teaching while being a working writer is working out for him, as a number of pupils will pursue a similar career. He is currently working on two books while teaching three classes — and being an example to students of how to balance a multi-disciplined life. Brorby feels this vulnerability and inclusivity are invaluable to the learning experience, and he hopes this openness will be beneficial for those he shares it with in prompting their own vulnerability in their writing process.
Brorby further explained how writing can be therapeutic, and an aim of his course is to help students to be “creative in bold ways” so that they too can experience this quality. He feels that relating to others and the world around oneself can be excellent ways to begin writing with perspective. According to Brorby, through talking about experiences and interaction with others, insightful writing can be produced. He explains that failing and writing poorly can lead to some of his students’ best works, and that fearing failure will only impede the writing process.
From what started as HWS’s need for another Creative Writing instructor and his own need for teaching experience has blossomed into a valuable and enjoyable experience. His favorite thing about teaching Creative Writing is how many new perspectives are offered each time he teaches this course. With an entirely new body of people taking the class every year, the stories being produced remain fresh and exciting with writers making it their own. The other class he is teaching this semester, Advanced Environmental Nonfiction Writing, explores the politics of nature and environmental writing. It will take a look at contemporary nature writing, such as Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, and how it led to the birth of the Environmental Protection Agency, while also investigating how topics like food, climate, and social justice come into play with this type of writing. He hopes this class will help students and the Colleges create goals to positively impact the environment and to improve and foster sustainability. He especially looks forward to seeing how the measures already being taken in this area and those to come will create and encourage conversations regarding environmental change and become a point of pride for everyone involved.