Zoffness Curates Observation Into Art

by Venna Hsu

2 mins read
person pouring milk in highball glass
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On Mar. 15, Writers@Drew welcomed its very own Director of Creative Writing and author Courtney Zoffness to discuss her new publication Spilt Milk. During the event, Zoffness  talked with Professor Andrea Chaplin about their paths to becoming professional writers, read an essay from the book (entitled “The Only Thing We have to Fear”) and had a Q&A session with the audience. 

According to Zoffness, her son was a big source of her inspiration for writing the book. She said she would often find herself jotting down ideas on scrap paper, the backs of receipts or old coupons she had in her purse, while watching her son at the playground. 

This plays into the fact that Zoffness considers herself to be more of an observer when it comes to writing. She is careful to note, though, that it is more than writing simply what happens in front of her eyes. She says that although her writing is observational, it is also deliberate and artful. 

According to Zoffness, it’s important to acknowledge the hand-picking that goes into prose. 

“Even really personal writing …  is a curated thing that one is sort of handpicking what to include and what to exclude. There is no neutrality in it,” said Zoffness, who wants to create meaning within her work that will force her readers to have a particular sort of experience when reading the piece. 


“Spilt Milk” is available for purchase at the Drew University Bookstore.

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