September 25, 2015
Nick Ripatrazone '03 is the author of six books—the novel, This Darksome Burn, and the poetry collection, This is Not about Birds. He is a high school English teacher and teaches at Rutgers-Newark.
How has your passion for writing spilled over into teaching?
I hope to show students that writing can be a charged, daily ritual-something that becomes innate, natural and necessary. I talk about process, how I discovered and submit to literary magazines and my participation in the literary community.
Do you see the teaching styles of the faculty at SU in your classroom today?
Absolutely. I learned to refine my sense of workshop by reflecting on how they were run by Tom [Bailey] and Gary [Fincke]. I've managed a synthesis of their approaches. I try to cultivate a sense of community in my own classroom.
What is one piece of advice you would give students?
The single best piece of advice was from Tom, who said "worry isn't work." I'd written him a long email, and his response was simple: I could worry my literary life away, but that wasn't going to accomplish anything. I just had to write.
What does it mean to you to have been a part of Susquehanna's creative writing program?
The SU program is a community of skilled writers and teachers, with a level equaling graduate programs. It's more than just a program-it's a way of thinking about writing, art and life.