Andrea Applebee

“Andrea Applebee was my professor for an Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction course at the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout the semester, Andrea encouraged me to experiment and try new strategies for my writing that I had not thought of before. In all aspects of her teaching, Andrea was thoughtful, insightful, and thoroughly inventive. She frequently surprised me with a comment or suggestion that would send me back to my writing with renewed energy. I was never at a loss for inspiration. During this time, I was also considering applying to MFA Creative Writing programs. Andrea was incredibly supportive of me during the daunting application process, looking over my portfolio and cover letters through several drafts. Andrea is an intelligent reader and an articulate teacher of writing skills, techniques, and approaches. As her student, Andrea pushed me to think critically and write daringly.”

– Colin Post

Fall, 2015 Courses

Documentary poetics has long motivated writing that strives to balance evidence with artistic transformation. As a practice, it may draw from any number of documents—from newspapers to personal journals, from science articles to interviews. Whatever the source, a project in documentary poetics often experiments with form, perspective, and material in order to express a subject deeply and make it tangible to an audience. With such a versatile definition you may wonder what distinguishes artistic documentary writing from other poetics—and this will be one of the central debates of the class. During the first part of the course we will explore a diverse range of models, visit the university archive, and undertake a series of short poetic exercises. Participants will then choose a subject and materials to research and explore in a sequence of experimental pieces of documentary writing. (12 hours/All Levels)

* Starts on 10/29

Teaching and creativity

I started teaching as part of my fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. I had never thought of myself as someone who wanted to be around people, but I loved it. I really enjoyed the relationships, and I felt like my students were at an exciting point in their writing development.  

About half-way through my program, someone recommended I enroll in a certificate in Rhetoric and Composition. I enjoyed the Rhetoric classes I had taken, and hadn’t felt totally at home anywhere else, so I did that. I think that certificate was the main reason why the University of Pennsylvania hired me.  

Because of my history with writing development, I enjoy working with students who feel underprepared. I like the different learning styles and the creativity. And I find it really isn’t that hard to bring students up to speed. Many of those students keep going and end up performing better than students in the “normal” classes. It’s incredible to see. It is so rewarding to give back what was given to me.

More feedback from students

“Professor Applebee was the first great professor I had in college, setting the standard for how I view high quality teaching at a prestigious university. She was my professor for a writing seminar... I made significant progress over the course of the semester with Professor Applebee’s help. Her feedback was always specific and thoughtful, instructing me on exactly what I needed to work on for the next assignment, while also being abstract enough with her suggestions that my writing retained its originality. Additionally, Professor Applebee was a very compassionate and understanding teacher, interested in the well-being of her students, and I always felt welcome to talk to her about anything. Finally, she is a very talented poet and writer herself and I enjoyed the exposure to her work that I got while in her class. Many semesters later, she remains one of my favorite teachers of all time.”

– Julie Roland, University of Pennsylvania

“I had the privilege of having Andrea Applebee as a professor for a writing seminar that I took while attending the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Applebee worked tirelessly to help me improve my writing in personalized biweekly meetings in which she spent time helping me to efficiently and meticulously construct and revise my writing. Ms. Applebee went above and beyond in her duty as professor; not only did she hold personalized meetings outside of class, but she made it clear that she was passionate about helping us reach our full potential as critical thinkers and critical writers. With Ms. Applebee as our guide in the discovery process, we entered into meaningful dialogue to continue to make deeper connections and strive for greater understanding together.”