In an interview with Laura Ritland, Rhea Tregebov defends creative writing workshops:
We don’t question “can you teach dance,” “can you teach visual arts,” “can you teach how to make films.” You can’t implant talent in people, but you can nurture it in people. And over my career, I’ve seen many, many kinds of talents—talent for narrative, metaphor, people with high concept poems, intense thinking, and so on. It’s been rewarding to teach these talented people, but it’s also rewarding to teach students who come in a little more shaky but are so devoted to developing their craft, and work so absurdly hard. I mean, the talented students also work hard! But it’s incredible to watch people who really have something to say. To watch the students who really are driven. They have something to say that might be incredibly hard, and they are going to find a way to express that.
So I can teach them how to use the line, and I can teach them about syntax; or I can tell them about the deictics of their poem, and I can give lectures in workshop. But a part of that whole educational process is helping them understand their project: what they are trying to talk about, what they need to communicate, and how to get there.