Facing the Sky: Composing through Trauma in Word and Image

SKU: 978-1-60235-449-4

Roy F. Fox

Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition
Series Editors: Patricia Sullivan, Catherine Hobbs, Thomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay

Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-449-4 (paperback, $32) | 978-1-60235-450-0 (hardcover, $65.00) | 978-1-60235-451-7 (Adobe eBook, $20) © 2016 by Parlor Press. 314 pages with notes, illustrations, bibliography, and index.

Listen to an interview with Roy F. Fox about Facing the Sky by Trevor Mattea at New Books in Education.

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At forty-one, Lucy was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Kate lost her husband in a freak accident. These women—practical, intelligent, perceptive—were also language experts who had devoted their lives to the study and teaching of reading and writing. When these traumas shattered their normal lives, they turned to writing. Through extensive interviews, correspondence, and close analysis of their public and personal writing, Roy F. Fox details why and how writing helped these people make sense of their physical and emotional upheavals, exploring such issues as their motivation, fluency, awareness of audience, rhetorical decision-making, focused collaborations, and uses of secondary source material.

Praise for Facing the Sky

"Fox is both anthropologist and theorist. Reading Facing the Sky gives us remarkable perspective—and in the end distance­—on how writers have used symbolic systems to deal with pain. Yet all the while he is opening windows that cannot but lead us to experience some of the pain that his subjects write about."—PETER ELBOW (from the Foreword)

"Facing the Sky . . . breaks new ground and sows an abundance of seeds for a transformative pedagogy with the power to heal fractured souls in broken times. This book is not only for those in power--teachers, clinicians, politicians—but especially for those who have little or none—a book for NOW that unites theory and practice in a kind of prayer for our times."—SUSAN HUDSON

"Teachers of writing are bound to bump into student trauma before the first semester ends. When expressive writing is on the table, students soon wander into memory. Many will encounter scar tissue and open wounds from their past. Roy F. Fox . . . has written a valuable therapeutic prescription for composing through trauma. Facing the Sky offers a solid writing protocol grounded in narrative therapy and expressive therapies (art, writing, journaling). The approach he suggests is supported by contemporary neuroscience, which helps us understand that the brain heals when offered the right opportunities." —SUSAN REULING FURNESS, M.Ed, LCPC, LMFT, PTR

About the Author

Roy F. Fox currently serves as Professor of English Education and former Chair of the Department of Learning, Teaching, & Curriculum at the University of Missouri. He previously served in the Department of English at Boise State University as that university's first Director of Campus Writing. In this capacity, he led the revision of the Freshman English writing program, developed campus-wide graduation requirements for writing ability, and established a Writing across the Disciplines Program with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Fox's research focuses on the teaching and learning of language, writing, and media literacy—especially how people interact with television, film, and advertising messages. For the past decade these research interests have coalesced into his current focus on exploring how combinations of reading, writing, technology, and media can address physical and psychological trauma. In addition to numerous chapters and articles, Fox is the author of several books, including Images in Language, Media, & Mind; Technical Communication: Problems and Solutions; Harvesting Minds: How TV Commercials Control Kids; UpDrafts: Case Studies in Teacher Renewal; and MediaSpeak: Three American Voices. In 2010, Fox founded the journal, Engaging Cultures & Voices: Learning through Media. A former high school English teacher, Fox has received the Maxine Christopher Shutz Award for Distinguished Teaching and the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.


Peter Elbow
Introduction: An Unfinished Furrow
1 Composing through Trauma
2 Beyond "Just Academic Stuff": The Course, The Teacher, The Study
3 Lucy
4 Seven Writers Composing in Word and Image
5 Kate
6 Common Threads
7 Recommendations
Works Cited
Appendix A: The Course Syllabus
Appendix B: Research Questions
Appendix C: Assessing Thinking in Writing
About the Author

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