Lois Wolfe

Lois Wolfe’s background and interests span a broad field of professional writing and editing. Formerly a journalist, she writes novels, poetry, essays and literary criticism. Her approach to fine art and popular culture is interdisciplinary and interrogative. Her primary interests are the integrity of story, the language of narrative and effective support of their role, function and aesthetic in a literate society. Her creative work includes novels (Mask of Night, Doubleday; The Schemers, Bantam), short fiction ( in Coastlines and online in Mangrove) and poetry (Mid-American Review). Her script for Blue Horizon, a one-act play, had a staged play-reading in 2007. Her non-fiction includes feature writing and book reviews for mass media and criticism for scholarly publications. Refereed work includes a study of moral aesthetic design and imperative language in Hamlet; a search for cognitive mimetics in the work of J.M. Coetzee; and a study of essay-writing in three Latin American women writers, forthcoming in a collection of research on the function of public intellectuals. Her 2008 dissertation, Toward a Pragmatics of Intent: Cognitive Approaches in Creative and Critical Writing, explores how to apply cognitive approaches to critical and creative writing. 

Her philosophy of life accords a pragmatic aesthetic and humanist ideal. “Live to learn. Learn to live.” 

Statement of teaching

In a literate society, writing is basic skill and entitled competency. Sitting down to write we are not replicators of reality, merely carriers of its forms, percepts, consequences and possibilities in genres from fiction to non-fiction, drama to poetry, notational to advertising. Writing, and our imperfect practice of it, is an act of consciousness which can be examined by others. Writing becomes us, so to speak.

I have a consuming interest in the conscious and unconscious processes of learning. I care about the epistemological and ontological journey of humans in a society. I care about the quality of that journey for individuals. I find opportunities in writing, instruction and scholarship to manifest that care.

For students, it means that I champion their writing and thinking by attending closely to their work on the page and their dynamic as a group. Even the most mundane communication lives in a profound space of risk, motivation and judgment if it’s given a selective context, form or relationship. Fiction represents the mind’s unique ability to project an imagined perspective from the outside in – to another’s perspective. I write to find abstract dialogic space with a reader, an interpreter with a different view. I want insight on my insight. I teach for the dialogue of growth and change, silent running, in a young writer’s work.