Dr. Guy Risko is Dean of Studies and teaches literature, drama, and seminar.
BardVERSE: What’s your favorite book you’ve read at Bard and why?
Dr. Risko: Gatsby. I’ve found that every time I read it, I can find a new way to approach it. I like that there are so many ways to get through it: it’s like a rock-climbing wall. When you look at or hear about it, it feels daunting and insurmountable. But as you find your footing, the work gets clearer and more engaging.
BardVERSE: What advice do you have for writers at Bard?
Dr. Risko: Read. Read anything that takes more than a few moments. Sit with a work, an article, a poem. Give yourself time to think about the piece as a whole. Find a writer whose voice you admire or enjoy and follow their work. And don’t worry about whether or not other people like who you like: marinate in your own enjoyment.
BardVERSE: Is there a place or time you usually write?
Dr. Risko: Not enough, but in a cafe right before or after a rush of people.
BardVERSE: What topic would you like to write about but haven’t yet?
Dr. Risko: Red Dead Redemption 2; True Detective; how the kinds of assignments professors ask students to complete relate to the kind of community we want to ferment outside of the classroom.
BardVERSE: What do you find most challenging about writing?
Dr. Risko: Starting and finishing. The middle is easy: I’m writing for me. Starting is hard because I need to find a reason to write. Finishing is hard because I’m paralyzed in my fear of failure.
BardVERSE: Which classmates’ writing do you admire and why?
Dr. Risko: Like, a peer at Bard? Ben Bagocius.
BardVERSE: Give one tip for writing a good essay.
Dr. Risko: Write your intro last. Your analysis of the novel needs to be what controls your argument. Your argument shouldn’t control your analysis of the novel.
BardVERSE: What question do you wish we asked but didn’t? Then respond to that question!
Dr. Risko: How do you use peers to make your writing better? We workshop, share, and support. We push each other to get things out into the world.