Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Portland author published in The New Yorker teaches, inspires students to write

By Kathleen Pierce, BDN Staff 

PORTLAND, Maine — At the East End Community School last Friday morning, Sarah Braunstein arrived with coffee and an inspirational quote from Salvador Dali: “To gaze is to think.”

For the next 45 minutes, the author and short-story writer challenged second-, third- and fourth-graders to ponder the quote while writing. She also sat down three objects on a chair to prompt the budding scribes.

Once a week, Braunstein, 38, teaches a creative writing class called Power Pens. She developed the class to awaken children to the rewards of wordplay.

Power Pens is part of the school’s Rise and Shine program, which invites parents to volunteer their skills, from engineering to wellness, for the morning elective.

“We tapped into her talents,” said Marcia Gendron, the school’s principal. “She brings the author’s craft into the classroom,” which does more than increase literacy. It forms an important bond.

Braunstein has been teaching the class for two years to help enrich the environment in which her son goes to school.

Next fall, Braunstein will be a faculty fellow in fiction at Colby College, and this month, her short story “All You Have to Do” was published in The New Yorker. These public school students are learning from a real pro.

Read the full article at the Bangor Daily News.