Monday, February 13, 2017

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Joe Mackall

Dr. Joe Mackall, Professor of English
Q: How many years have you taught at Ashland?

A: I’ve been teaching at AU for 21 years.

Q: What are some of the courses that you teach? 

A: I direct the undergraduate creative writing program so I teach mainly creative writing classes including Introduction to Creative Writing (English 201), Problems in Creative Writing (English 405), Editing One’s Own Creative Writing (English 415), and the Writer’s Workshop: Fiction/Creative Nonfiction (English 302). I also teach The Essay (English 306), and Composition I and II. I’m also a founding faculty member of AU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, and I teach the post-thesis residency working with students to turn their graduate theses into publishable books.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being a professor?

A: What I love most about being a professor is easy: working with students on their writing. I’m awed and gratified that students keep showing up who love and value reading and writing. I love seeing how much a student grows as a writer in four years. It’s my students who keep me coming back to teach every year. I love their optimism and their warmth, their capacity for dreaming and their hope for the future.

Q: What scholarly or creative projects are you working on?

A: Right now I’m working on a memoir about my inability to reconcile time, its pace, the way past present and future seem to exist simultaneously for me. I’m using four generations of my family who all live in a few square miles to help me tell this story. I’m concerned about what kind of country, hell, what kind of world, I’m bequeathing my children and grandchildren, and how I’m implicated in the country’s perils and maybe its promises. I’m also dealing with our ancestors, how much of them we carry, how their actual genes operate in us, and how their metaphorical genes—the memories we have and the stories we hear and tell of people who’ve gone before us—play in our imaginations and complicate our visions of time. I’m also revising a couple of novels I’ve written, and I have plans for a new novel.