Philosophy of teaching
At my best I write (poetry and prose) and read (obsessively) and teach (passionately). That's what I do. All of these activities involve grand improvisations, and it is somewhere in the heart of these improvisations where I find the pleasure and joy that allows me to love what I do and hopefully do it well.
My interest in anything I teach, is to facilitate the interests and strengths of my students while also sharing with them my own agenda and knowledge. For while I do have strong ideas about criteria and while I do believe in the importance of ascertaining good work from bad, or one school of thought as more generative than another, the emphasis is always toward something much more collaborative and improvised.
Having said this, there are several general principles I tend to adhere to as a teacher. First and foremost is my belief that the teacher's role is to promote a literal life of letters. By bringing energy and enthusiasm to our work, I encourage students to commit themselves to practices of lifelong learning and exhibit my own dedication to the same principle. This belief is based on my second principle, which is that students come to learn with their own agendas. All learners, myself included, are, at their core, autodidacts; they teach themselves what they need to know. The role of the teacher, then, is to facilitate, encourage, guide, and inspire this learning.
I'm an informal, but demanding teacher. My goal is to help students get their creative and critical energies behind what they're writing and thinking. While I implement a fixed schedule of topics, readings, and goals in advance -- these decisions necessarily grow and change in interaction with each student across the length of the semester. For real learning to last, for it to be transformative, one needs to opens doors to new knowledge and greater opportunities. I see teaching and learning as being inseparable -- a process of inquiry and discovery that I never tire of, and one that I love to share.
Special areas of expertise or research
Mark Watman’s areas of interest include Rhetoric and Composition studies with particular emphasis on writing pedagogy, Writing Across the Curriculum, and 19th and 20th Century Modern and Postmodern American Poetry. Current interests and research also include work on the writings of Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, as well as the New York Poets, L-A-N-G-U-A-G-poets, and the Black Mountain Poets.
Mark holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and a B.A. in English from New England College. Prior to joining the teaching profession, Mark held numerous odd jobs including stints as a bartender, a used bookstore manager, a blueberry picker, and a political campaign manager. As a poet and non-fiction writer, Mark’s writings have appeared in numerous publications, most recently including Entelechy International. Prior to returning to New England College he taught creative writing and literature courses such as Advanced Poetry Workshop, Advanced Fiction Workshop, Creative Non-Fiction, Writing for Publication, as well as Modern American Poets, and Mythology, among other, at a variety of Liberal Arts Colleges including Franklin Pierce College, Keene State College, Granite State College and Colby-Sawyer College.
A Calderwood Fellow for the Teaching of Writing in All Disciplines, Mark enjoys teaching students of all levels. Currently, Mark also serves as Associate Dean of Academic Support.
Mark Watman is currently working on a book-length collection of poetry titled The Hydrogen Garden. He recently provided the cover photo, Black Water Backdrop No. 2, and a content photo, Deep Root of Bitter Tree, for Maura MacNeil’s chapbook, A History of Water. Two of his poems, Far Off – The Peeled Bay, and Sitting Idle, No Noise in June, were published in the most recent edition of Entelechy International – A Journal of Contemporary Ideas.
- B.A., New England College
- MFA, Bennington College