Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Literature Class

Tuesday 10/27 Intro Pound. The River Merchant's Wife.
Homework: Read ALL of the biography and the poems http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/161

Read bio. and poems for Williams. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/119

Thursday Complete Pound discussion. Begin Williams: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/119

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Minimalism, Raymond Carver & What we Talk About When We Talk About Realists

Raymond Carver collections are all worth-it reads but especially:
What we Talk About When we Talk about Love
Cathedral and Will You Please be Quiet, Please?

(a good little fansite and includes a story from Where I'm Calling from. Very short and very Carver at his minimalistic-heights.)
http://www.iwu.edu/~jplath/carver.html (excellent interviews here--highly recommend you check them out.)

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All My Talented Students: Poets, Writers, Photographers

This journal, its contest. If you enter and show me you did, I'll throw in a little extra credit (something I never offer). NOVEMBER 1 DEADLINE--HURRY!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today's In-Class Assignment

is to include at least two notes from a flyer or advertisement and one news story--news of the weird, local paper, etc.--and may nothing more than passing news to the story or serve as a metaphor in a larger, recurring way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fiction Workshops

The distribution of stories for the next round will be on Friday for my W-F class and Thursday for my T-H gang.

That means that Groups One for both classes will have their first workshop on Tuesday & Wednesday of the week after (10/20 & 10/21, I believe.)

Some Suggested (Optional) Reading & Authors

Geek Love--Katherine Dunn
The History of Luminous Motion---Scott Bradfield
White People—Allan Gurganus

Donald Barthelme
Frederick Barthelme
Karen Brennan
Francois Camoin
Raymond Carver
Michael Cunningham
Jeffrey Eugenedes
Ellen Gilchrist
Barry Hannah
Laura Kasischke
Susan Minot
Lorrie Moore
Alice Munro
Z.Z. Packer
Grace Paley
Wendy Rawlings
Melanie Rae Thon

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fiction Workshop Assignments

1. A type of seed
2. A song title or artist from more than five years ago. (The longer-ago, the better.)
3. A kind of metal

Extra assignment:

1. Take two characters who share a memory and place them in a setting that involves a third character who must be told or blocked from the information. Make the way that this plays out employ much showing, no obvious expository moves and a delicate threading in of the information.

2. Two characters are being acquainted for the first time. One is more uneasy about this than the other and has something that needs to be said during this meeting. WITHOUT using internal dialogue or thinking on the part of either character, find a way to get this information across while employing something from the setting in which they are meeting. Make the setting slightly odd or memorable.

3. Have a character let the story know some information. (In W-F class, this was the example we discussed with the character who had had the flu many times.)

Example: "Polly and I were walking through the cemetary off of the highway, it's what we did on the long afternoons between her father's away-time and his few days home again.
"Look at this one," she said, "we could put a bucket of September flowers right here, some pillows there inside, we could bring our favorite books and read stories every day."
I was starting to feel feverish, the early signs of what would be the sixth bout of flu since March. Polly was skipping up to the mausoleums, wishing one could be our clubhouse. I stopped at Zebediah August born April 1, 1901, died July 14, 1918 and wondering how such a boy became, his long limbs bony from the sickness, his skin a healthy sun-baked color that glowed-out a thinner pallor, something earthworm-belly and ailing. I wasn't feeling so hot and Polly was humming that Russian folk song again and I knew that she was missing her mother..."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fiction Workshop New Writing Assignment

1. Use an existing character, scene or setting from your own work.

2. Have a piece of correspondence that is not intended for the character that finds it. This should not be a plot-shattering or radically-transformative event.

3. Include a bird

4. and a piece of sheet music

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prompt & Submission Opportunity Fiction Workshop

Call for Submissions
Doorknobs & BodyPaint (flash fiction)
publication online
October 18, 2009 deadline
Theme: All saints

Send submissions to any of the addresses listed below:

So many saints; too few days. So, each year we set aside a day to honor All Saints. Those little know. Those without days of honor. Small children press wilted marigolds at their feet; mothers-to-be press new candles on their altars; old men and women press lips to the hem of their gowns. We honor them with these acts of praise and gifts hoping that when we need them they will intervene. Some of them are so little known that only we know what they have endured and why they will support us and our dreams. Write a story within the limits of our contest guidelines (hoops):


In Edith Wharton's ghost story, "Pomegranate Seed," newlywed Charlotte Ashby is concerned by the arrival of a gray envelope addressed to her husband Kenneth when they return home from their honeymoon. Shortly after, another envelope arrives. Then, another and another. Charlotte is convinced that another woman is trying to ruin their marriage. When Charlotte asks him to go away with her on a holiday, he wearily answers.

“Don't ask me. I can't leave -- I can't!"
"You mean that you can't go away out of reach of those letters!"
... She continued to kneel at his side, and raising her hands, she drew his gently down. She was ashamed of her persistence, ashamed of uncovering that baffled disordered face, yet resolved that no such scruples should arrest her. His eyes were lowered, the muscles of his face quivered; she was making him suffer even more than she suffered herself. Yet this no longer restrained her.
"Kenneth, is it that? She won't let us go away together?"
Still he did not speak or turn his eyes to her; and a sense of defeat swept over her. After all, she thought, the struggle was a losing one. "You needn't answer. I see I'm right," she said.

In fact, Kenneth suddenly agrees to go away with his wife. When she and her mother-in-law arrive home, he can't be found and a letter is waiting for him. The elder Mrs. Ashby recognizes the writing. In 450 words or less, write a story where a seemingly supernatural forceplays havoc with the emotions of the characters.

1. Maximum length: 250 words.
2. The sub-theme is: condemnation.
3. The year is: 1938.
4. Within the story, you must use this text: to dance.

HAYWARD FAULT LINE (shake us up)
1. Maximum length: 450 words.
2. The sub-theme is: praise.
3. The setting is: Barcelona, Spain.
4. Within the story, you must use this bit of text: move along.

TAPAS (tiny morsels)
1. Maximum length: 250 words.
2. The sub-theme is: secrete.
3. Within the story, you must use this bit of text: imbued with.
4. Like seasoning, it is language that makes your story unique. Surprise us.

The Cairo Room contains all non-contest and writer's pool selections under 450 words. From the exotic to the post-modern to hypertext to first time writers, this room welcomes and nurtures the writer.

General Guidelines:
1. General submission guidelines apply to all stories.
2. When you send your submission by email, please include your name, postal address, and email address at the beginning of each story; paste your story into the body of your email and send it in plain text form.
3. If you send more than one story (three total), send each story as a separate email.
4. This is important. Put the category (FF, HF, DO, TA, CR,), the issue #, and your name on the subject line. (example: FF, 21, Mary Jane Argure) We use a filter for all email; therefore, if you do not put this information in the subject line, your email will automatically go into trash.
5. Do not send your story in HTML format or as an attachment. If you send your story in HTML format or as an attachment, it will discarded.

Fiction Workshops


Tuesday 10/06
Wednesday 10/07

We will not be workshopping on those days but will pick up on the next groups on Thursday and Friday. Any groups that have work due on those days will be expected to distribute the stories on Thursday and Friday instead

The assignments for 10/06 & 10/07 will be to come to class, have someone (designated student) distribute a roll sheet (date at top) and drop it in my mailbox in the liberal arts office after class.
After you meet, you are each to hand one other student a sheet of paper with the following things on it:

1. A way of moving
2. A name of a planet
3. three kinds of food
4. A character's name
5. one sentence to be used in their piece

Using those devices, I want you to go to a gallery or museum (you have all of class time to do this) and choose a piece to engage or incorporate into the writing you will do. I would like all of the pieces typed up and brought in to be read in class. This assignment is not only required but counts as your attendance for that day. The scene you write can, as always, be brand new or be a part of an existing story on which you are working. It must be a minimum of 300 words.

Contemporary Lit

H 10/01 Modernism continues. Discussion Love Song and opening of Sunday Morning, Wallace Stevens.

T 10/06 Use at least the hour and a half of class time to research art and artists (you can include musicians) and as a group, present a facet, figure or figures of the Modernist period. If they tie into any literary figures or texts, that works fine but is not a necessity.

H 10/08 Art & Modernism presentations

T 10/13 More Stevens, Modernism, discussion.
Response to one of the pieces we have not discussed in class. For this assignment, I would like for you to respond with a poem, short story, dramatic monologue, scene, letter or essay form to one of the pieces we have read for class or (with my approval) a piece from the time period that was not assigned. Your responses should be a minimum of five-hundred words. If you choose to respond in poetry (say formal verse) you will need to write the poem and then a two hundred word “process” piece that explains how the work influenced yours, what artistic decisions and deviations you made, formal strategies or the decision to work against form are all things that you might address. These assignments will be letter-graded and are expected to be typed, proofread and edited before they come to me.