Multigenre Writing



I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman / "Song of Myself" / Leaves of Grass / (1855)


From Tom Romano's Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers (2000):

A multigenre paper arises from research, experience, and imagination. It is not an uninterrupted, expository monolog nor a seamless narrative nor a collection of poems. A multigenre paper is composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by theme or topic and sometimes by language, images and content. In addition to many genres, a multigenre paper may also contain many voices, not just the author's. The trick is to make such a paper hang together. (x-xi)


From Camille Allen's The Multigenre Research Paper (2001):

The best way I can describe a multigenre paper is to say that each piece in the paper utilizes a different genre, reveals one facet of the topic, and makes its own point. Conventional devices do not connect the pieces in a multigenre paper, nor are the pieces always in chronological order. The paper is instead a collage of writing and artistic expression with an overarching theme that engulfs and informs the reader. (2)



Multigenre pushes convention,
challenges "This is the way writing is done,"
and "Hey, wait a minute, you can't do that
in a piece of writing." 

Multigenre speaks, "How come I read imaginative
literature but I have to write about it in an essay
that is thesis driven, argumentative, and exactly
five you-know-whats (each you-know-what, of course,
of the 3.8 variety), an essay in which the writer
overpowers readers, beats them
into submission, and concludes
with a summative you-know-what that restates the thesis?"
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But writing that way is not what multigenre is about. 
Multigenre removes the lid of Pandora's Rhetorical Box.
Multigenre twirls you and spins you and you hope the steps
the writer asks you to follow lead to fulfillment. 
Multigenre knows that feeling is first. 
Multigenre grooves on pulse, has flushed cheeks,
hair on the back of the neck that stands on end. 
Multigenre makes readers sit up in their chairs. 
Multigenre is not roast beef; it is ciappino. 
It is less like mashed potatoes,
and more like red beans and rice.

                   Tom Romano


Created Spring 2006, Katherine E. McKinnon

Updated Fall 2006, Linsey E. Milillo

Tom Romano
Annotated Bibliography
Multigenre Assignment Sheets
Research Designs
Multigenre Grading Rubrics
Multigenre Papers
Miami University
Miami University: School of Education and Allied Professions
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
New Hampshire Literacy Institutes at the University of New Hampshire
The Ohio Writing Project