Academics John Sheehy - Writing
Contact John Sheehy; 802-258-9268
"Writing is absolutely necessary if you want to know something,” says John Sheehy, who came to Marlboro after teaching composition and literature at University of Washington. He explains that writing is an essential part of the learning process because it forces people to organize and present their thoughts with a discipline, something people don’t always do when they are simply reading or talking about what they’ve read. John's literature seminars cover everything from Faulkner to Emerson, Toni Morrison, Norman MacLean and Cormac McCarthy.
John helps students determine the strengths of their writing, whether those strengths are found in academic papers or emails to friends, and then capitalize on them, using them as a basis for improving all facets of their writing. "Good writing comes from everywhere," he says. "Most bad writing comes from bad teaching." John maintains that email writing discussion groups are an excellent forum for students to critique each others’ work and to present their own. "In email," he says, "people are unconsciously particular about their tone, content, word choice—essentially their delivery—and they are very aware of their audience. These are really the foundations of all good writing. The job of the writing student is to become aware of these aspects of their writing and to learn how to control them."
Student Plans and Collaborations
- An exploration through writing and photography of the possibility of finding meaning in loss, especially as it relates to family. Michael Hamby '10, writing and photography.
- A study of language, meaning and faith in the work of Cormac McCarthy and T.S. Eliot, including a paper discussing epistemic themes in Eliot's Four Quartets. Seth Sempere '09, literature and writing.
- An exploration of family and home in a collection of paintings, a body of creative nonfiction and a critical essay examining Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. Heather Collins '09, visual arts and writing.
John had a story included in the book The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood, edited by Tom Matlack. The book features personal essays by a broad range of men, describing their challenges, triumphs and life-changing moments and John's story, "Skeff," describes his relationship with his father. He also had a nonfiction story, titled "Red Line," published in the fall 2009 issue of Fourth Genre.
B.A., Montana State University, 1987; M.A., University of Washington, 1993; Ph.D., University of Washington, 1997; Marlboro College, 1998 -