R. Clay Reynolds

Professor, Director of Creative Writing

Areas of Specialization:  Creative Writing, Modern Literature, Humanities

Office:  JO 4.625
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2763

When I came to UTD in 1998, I described myself as a "utility infielder," which says about as much about my love of baseball as it does about my background. I teach creative writing, modern (post 1800) literature, for the most part, on both the graduate and undergraduate level. I also cover film-as-literature in a sideways fashion. Pretty much, I'm a scholar and teacher who also writes, but I write all kinds of stuff. I write fiction and nonfiction, as well as scholarship, book criticism, and journalistic essays and articles. I think it's an obligation to practice what I teach. In point of fact, I have more actual publications than anyone on the UTD faculty, more than some whole school faculties combined. But writing is what I do professionally, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. "Reading maketh a full man" Francis Bacon reminds us, "and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he need have much cunning to seem to know which he doth not." I take that advice to heart, so I am demanding and exacting in the classroom. Students are my top priority, always, but I have no time or energy to give to any who aren't interested in learning and trying and doing their best, always. Give me your best effort, you'll have my full support, attention, and undying loyalty. Look for shortcuts and easy-outs, seek elsewhere. I have no time for cultivating "much cunning." Therefore, I have little patience with academic laziness, but I admire and cherish commitment and hard work to the whole idea of learning and improving.

I'm interested in all kinds of things, mostly having little to do with scholarship. I am interested in scholarship, but not to the exclusion of other things to which scholarship may be usefully applied. I believe in holistic learning, in the relevance of knowledge to all of life, and I don't think anything is unworthy of consideration. I love reading about war, which is man's most fascinating and extreme behavior, and I love reading about social turmoil, particularly political turmoil. I'm very fond of history and read more history than anything, ranging from ancient history to more modern periods. I also love cooking, golf, dogs, and life, generally. I admire beauty, whether in art of everyday life, and I despair of ugliness, although I know that it is part of life, as well. As a writer, I need to know about everything. At bottom, though, I think I'm a romantic. I believe in the positive nature of human character, but I acknowledge that the negative impulses more often triumph.

My students have achieved wonderful things. A former student of mine is, or was, a major executive with Chrysler Corporation; another is an executive with the Modern Language Association. Many are teachers, professors, sales executives, successful business people. Some have become successful writers, authors, artists, photographers, journalists, and academics of various sorts. One is a golf pro at a country club. I never teach them to "be something." I try to help them discover who they want to be and then send them off to become it. I've been teaching more than forty years, and I've learned something from students every semester. Teaching is a surprise-in-waiting. Working with students is the most satisfying activity I can imagine. Success and achievement are only goals; it's the journey that matters.

I've been involved in higher education for more than forty years, but before doing that and even after starting to teach on the college level, I've had many other jobs. I've worked as a farm laborer and ranch hand, driven soft-drink bottle trucks, worked in warehouses and in road-side vegetable stands. I've managed teen-rooms at country clubs, investigated insurance policies, bought and sold chattel mortgage paper, tended bar, sold encyclopedias door-to-door, sold shoes in a department store, worked in a steel plant, and once worked in a fishing lure factory. I've worked construction, picked fruit, and plowed fields. I was once an elevator operator in a downtown San Antonio hotel. I've also been a free-lance writer, an independent journalist, taught English for the Deaf, sung in a folk-music trio, have taught in junior colleges, open-admission universities, and exclusive private schools. I can change a flat or a diaper, plant a garden, train a dog, cook a meal on stove or open fire, and can dress almost any game anybody else might want to kill. I also have directed more than a dozen semi-professional dramatic productions and have worked as an actor in probably twenty or more productions. I was once an extra in a movie. Experience, I believe, is where you find it.

Recent Courses:  View courses taught by Clay Reynolds

Work Samples and Publications:  All of my published fiction and original essays may be found on Baen Ebooks. These are available in electronic format. My Texas Tech University Press editions are still available in hard copy, so are my Texas Review Press editions. Amazon.com offers used copies of some of the others, but none of these are credited to me. My articles and essays and scholarly work is available where indicated on my c.v. I would recommend the Baen link to all who might be interested in reading my work.


PhD, University of Tulsa
MA, Trinity University
BA, University of Texas at Austin

Curriculum Vitae:  Clay Reynolds's CV

Website(s):  Clay Reynolds