Sommers: “I Stand Here Writing”

Sommers, Nancy. “I Stand Here Writing.” College English 55.4 (1993): 420-428.

“I want them [students] to learn how sources thicken, complicate, enlarge writing, but I want them to know too how it is always the writer’s voice, vision, and argument that create the new source. I want my students to see that nothing reveals itself straight out, especially the sources all around them. But I know enough by now that this Emersonian ideal can’t be passed on in one lesson or even a semester of lessons” (425).

“At the outset, many of my students think that personal writing is writing about the death of their grandmother. Academic writing is reporting what Elizabeth Kübler-Ross has written about death and dying. Being personal, I want to show my students, does not mean being autobiographical. Being academic does not mean being remote, distant, imponderable. Being personal means bringing their judgments and interpretation to bear on what they read and write, learning that they never leave themselves behind even when they write academic essays” (425).

This is a great essay. I think I know where I’m going now.

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