Professor Interview: Dr. Patrick Bizzaro

The following interview is between Kelly Kendrick and Dr. Patrick Bizzaro. Dr. Bizzaro’s answers are not direct quotes, but are a version of what was said. This was done to explain Bizzaro’s answers in more detail and to get his point across. Each of his answers are his answers, but are rephrased. It would be impossible to quote the entire conversation verbatim.   

K: What classes do you look forward to teaching?
B: All. He enjoys teaching all of his classes not only because of the material he teaches, but because of his students. He loves the looks on their faces when they create a piece of writing they are proud of. He enjoys helping students feel accomplished through their writing and seeing them develop and grow not only through their writing, but mentally. As their writing grows stronger and powerful, their mind develops and becomes stronger and expands.

K: What made you interested in poetry and writing/creative writing?

B: By writing. When he was in the fifth grade he wrote a silly poem. He thought it was silly now, but at the time he won an award for it. Winning that award inspired him to continue to write.

K: How long have you been writing professionally?

B: 40 years.

K: How do you balance writing with teaching and your personal life?

B: He told me that you have to take a writing day when you can. He usually chooses Sunday to write and to catch up on things. The most useful advice he gave me was that you have to write every day. If you can take five minutes out of your day to write a few paragraphs down, do it. Any writing is better than no writing.

K: How long have you been teaching?

B: 42 years

K: Have you taught at other schools? How were the schools different?

B: Yes. He taught and retired from a university in North Carolina. The experience differed from IUP due to the different classes he taught. In North Carolina he taught basic writing classes. At IUP he teaches poetry and other basic writing classes.

K: What brought you to IUP?

B: Recruit Dr. Program.

K: Was teaching always your first choice?

B: Yes.

K: Was English always your major?

B: Yes.

K: What was your graduate school like?

B: Positive. He focused on and enjoyed 19th century British literature. He especially enjoyed Hemmingway.

K: Where did you go to graduate school?

B: Ohio.

K: Do you have any advice for writers?

B: “Do the thing you love.” The best advice Dr. Bizzaro gave me was to get involved in networking and conferences. By continuing to write, especially out of class, and continue to get involved in outside writing opportunities, you will get yourself recognized and begin building your career. To get your name recognized, you must get involved and put yourself out there.

Through my interview with Dr. Bizzaro I learned if you love something, continue to work at it. In his case, it was writing. He loves to write, he continued to write throughout his life, and through this he became successful. I learned the importance of taking advantage of conferences and writing competitions. Any way to get your name “out there,” do it. To be a successful writer, you cannot sit back and ride your way through school. You have to push your name. One way to do this is taking advantage of as many competitions and conferences as you can possible. Personally, I keep a journal. I always find it difficult to keep up with it. It seems that I never have time in a day to write. He showed me that if you have even five minutes free in a day that it is enough to write. I think about this every day when I finish my school work and all I want to do is take a nap. I remind myself that five minutes is all you need to write, so instead of taking a nap, take time to write before.


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