John York has forty years of teaching experience, teaching mostly high school English and creative writing. (He's been writing for fifty years.) He has also taught middle schoolers and college students. He has led workshops for adults at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference, the annual conferences of the North Carolina English Teachers Association, the NC Writers' Network Spring Conference, and the NC Center for the Advancement in Teaching.
In 2003, the NCETA named him the state's Outstanding English Teacher of the Year. In 2009, he received certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Readings and Writing Workshops
York has read his poetry and creative nonfiction in many different venues. He especially enjoys reading in independent bookstores.
He is available for creative writing workshops in schools and at writers' conferences.
For younger writers, he offers strategies that will help them differentiate between concrete and abstract language, as well as the original and trite. He asks them to pay attention to particulars, especially those that evoke the five senses. He teaches them how to be self-reflective, their own best critics. He teaches them how to have fun with language.
For more experienced writers, he may start with strategies for generating detail and figurative language. He will definitely focus on the process of revision. He asks that, following Fred Chappell's advice, they "learn to love revision"—to let the poem or story emerge gradually. Moreover, he will demonstrate what poet Richard Hugo means when he tells writers to let go of the real and let the imagination do its work.
Like Hugo, he encourages writers to let "truth conform to music," to trust language and the imagination.