Walking On Water: Reading, Writing and Revolution


Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?

Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom — whether University or maximum security prison — where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools are central to perpetuating the great illusion of our culture, that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us all into life-long clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.

This is Jensen’s great gift as a teacher and writer, to bring us fully alive at the same moment he is making us confront our losses and count our defeats. It is at the center of Walking on Water, a book that is not only a hard-hitting and sometimes scathing critique of our current educational system; not only a hands-on method for learning how to write; but, like Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, a lesson on how to connect to the core of our creative selves, to the miracle of waking up and arriving breathless (but with dry feet) on the far shore.


“The clarity and force of these ideas cut like a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon, preserving the vital, removing the diseased. Mr. Jensen burns sharp holes in the dark places of those rituals we have been tricked into believing are education. We owe him a debt of gratitude for these transformational insights. Read this book!”
John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

“Almost brutal in its honesty, revealing of the ways the system reproduces itself, and liberating…Jensen’s Walking on Water is an act of hope, of resistance, of life-affirmance, that calls for the end of what by brother, Delbert Africa, aptly called, a ‘deathstyle.'”
Mumia Abu-Jamal, author of All Things Censored

Contents and Excerpts


August 2010, by communicatrix
January 2008, by 12frogs
April 2005, by Marie Jones (also in “various dates” link below)
March 2005, by Michael Weaver
February 2004, from Publishers Weekly
various dates, reviews by Marie Jones, Marg Cloy, ForeWord Magazine, and Adam Fletcher