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Writing Home

Writing Home

A Literacy Autobiography

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Eli Goldblatt


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
11 illustrations


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About the Book

In this engrossing memoir, poet and literacy scholar Eli Goldblatt shares the intimate ways reading and writing influenced the first thirty years of his life—in the classroom but mostly outside it. Writing Home: A Literacy Autobiography traces Goldblatt’s search for home and his growing recognition that only through his writing life can he fully contextualize the world he inhabits.
Goldblatt connects his educational journey as a poet and a teacher to his conception of literacy, and assesses his intellectual, emotional, and political development through undergraduate and postgraduate experiences alongside the social imperatives of the era. He explores his decision to leave medical school after he realized that he could not compartmentalize work and creative life or follow in his surgeon father’s footsteps. A brief first marriage rearranged his understanding of gender and sexuality, and a job teaching in an innercity school initiated him into racial politics. Literacy became a dramatic social reality when he witnessed the start of the national literacy campaign in postrevolutionary Nicaragua and spent two months finding his bearings while writing poetry in Mexico City.
Goldblatt presents a thoughtful and exquisitely crafted narrative of his life to illustrate that literacy exists at the intersection of individual and social life and is practiced in relationship to others. While the concept of literacy autobiography is a common assignment in undergraduate and graduate writing courses, few books model the exercise. Writing Home helps fill that void and, with Goldblatt’s emphasis on “out of school” literacy, fosters an understanding of literacy as a social practice.  


Eli Goldblatt is the author of eight books, including four volumes of poetry, two children’s books and Because We Live Here: Sponsoring Literacy beyond the College Curriculum, which won the National Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Best Book Award in 2008.


“Life experiences, we writing teachers say, contribute to the development of rich literacy practices. In this remarkable book, Eli Goldblatt practices what we preach, showing readers how his experiences have informed his approaches to writing, teaching, listening, and living. Writing Home is simultaneously a moving story and an extraordinary model of a teacher—and a human—living his principles.”—Linda Adler-Kassner, director of the Writing Program, University of California, Santa Barbara

Writing Home is an accomplished, absorbing story of displacement, struggle, romance, friendship, loss, fear, resurgent optimism, and pursuit of the ideal, though never quite achievable, poem-life. This book represents another precinct heard from as we continue to develop our understanding of literacy as a social practice.”—Keith Gilyard, author of Voices of The Self: A Study of Language Competence