In Defense of Informal or Embodied Writing

A Note to Editors Half my Age


  • Gregory Stephens University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez


Writing Studies, Creative Writing, editorial interventions, personal voice, embodied writing


The author's struggle with editorial intrusions is sketched, while working in Saudi Arabia into Puerto Rico. Submitting articles in rhet-comp and Creative Writing Studies, the author resisted editors' demands that he produce an "impersonal" style. This spurred an investigation of authors who had carved out space for personal voice. This reflection seeks to historicize embodied writing, while aligning this process of "pushing back for voice" with the MLA's re-definition of “Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies” as integrating five streams: creative writing, history and theory of rhetoric, history and theory of composition, literacy, and writing pedagogies.

Author Biography

  • Gregory Stephens, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez

    Gregory Stephens is Associate Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, where he has taught since 2014. His book "Three Birds Sing a New Song: A Puerto Rican trilogy about Dystopia, Precarity, and Resistance" was published by Intermezzo (2019). He is the author of On Racial Frontiers: The New Culture of Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and Bob Marley (Cambridge UP). Trilogies as Cultural Analysis: Literary Re-imaginings of Sea Crossings, Animals, and Fathering was published by Cambridge SP in 2018.

    Stephens’ graduate work was in Communication from the University of California-San Diego. Publications elaborating the theory of communicative cultures include:

    • “Postcolonialism as Leftist Firing Squad and Procrustean Bed: A Communicative Take.” Journal for Cultural Research (Spring 2023).
    • Halfies, Half-Written Letters, and One-Eyed Gods: Connecting the Dots of Communicative Cultures.” Dialogue: The interdisciplinary journal of popular culture & pedagogy 8:3 (2021-22).

    His fourteen years in the Caribbean includes four years as Lecturer of Cultural Studies and Film at the University of the West Indies-Mona. A transnational, communicative approach informs his work on Latin American and the Caribbean, as in the chapter “Guavas for Dummies, American Jíbaras, & Postnational Autonomy: When I Was Puerto Rican in the Hemispheric Turn.”