Wednesday, October 27, 2010

POETS--Remember to bring

1. A "scary" poem or Halloween poem. You can approach "scary" any way you wish.
2. Something treatish, if you'd like or beverages to go with treats.

(I will bring the contraband lighting source and some treats, too.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Confessionalist Readings for Contemporary Lit.

We're starting Plath today (in class, no worries) and you'll have the weekend. Remember your yawps need to be executed if they haven't been. (We're getting some great attention for this.

Sylvia Plath bio.
And her poems
Before you panic,these are the required reading: Poppies in July, Poppies in October, Daddy, Lady Lazarus, Black Rook in Rainy Weather, Balloons, Mad Girl's Love Song, Burning the Letters

Anne Sexton (the bio and all of the poems--there are just four-five there) PLUS: The Bells Ringing the Bells Music Swims Back to Me

Robert Lowell bio read all the poems and the biographical information.

I grouped these all separate of the Berryman just because they worked together, (Lowell was their teacher) and were even institutionalized at the same point for a brief time.

This is a hefty amount of reading, so please start early and have lots to say about it. We'll watch Plath's video today and discuss it all on Tuesday.

Our next writers will be some of the New York School poets. I'll post reading links for them soon. (Frank O'Hara will be a big one, if you want to do any of your own scouting about.) Then, some Ashbery (I meant to say it this time) and so on.

Remember to update me on your yawps and anything you still hope we'll read, cover, discuss.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WRITING POETRY Your Formal Poetry Cheatsheet

Your next assignments (due a week from today)
10/27 will be the formal poem

You get a choice of one (you're welcome to do more of these as we roll along)
Don’t forget these terms, they will help you through the assignment.

Elizabeth Bishop’s

One Art
(a villanelle) Other villanelles:

I Wake to Sleep

Dylan Thomas’
Do Not Go Gentle into that Good NightIf you find the villanelle compelling, but too restrictive, try the pantoum. It has a similar rocking motion to it, but offers a little more variety in the repetition.

Fiction Workshop Reminder

New Stories Due from Group One on Tuesday of next week.
Group Two=Thursday and so on.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Writing Fiction Prompts

1. Choosing either an existing character or an entirely new story, write a setting that involves people gathering over something that they are passionate about (political fundraiser, church, art gallery opening, a new business, something that people work on to enact change or action) and have something intervene or enter the scene that is from the world outside of it. It can create a positive or negative version of tension but it should change "the temperature" of the room in some way.


2. Have your character/s (old or new) respond to an object (my class example was a home being delivered in halves--a prefab home). Does such a dwelling resonate with your characters? Do they like modern art? How about a really funky Jeni's ice cream type flavor? Anything that you can place them in a scene and have them work with or against.

Friday, October 15, 2010

For Contemporary Lit

I found a few excerpts from Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions by Maurice Manning to help you see how the voice is similar for both boys. Both are considered "hillbilly" in the most ironic sense as they are both wise beyond the adults of the narrative and both speak in ways that are meant to seem them more self-taught than traditionally educated. Again, class informs the dialogue here more than race. And I am still interested in how you see the Berryman tendencies playing through some of the idea behind these poems.

Anyway, this little excerpt shows you a line or two in Law's voice.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fiction Assignment

Tuesday 10/12/10
Working from Kathrine Wright's Why Write a piece that deals with a specific rationale. You can use this assignment to inspire your yawp piece or to advance an existing story.

For the yawp one, write anything in imitation. The nature of this piece kind of gets at some of what the yawp assignment suggests.

To advance an existing story, here's one way to do it (there are countless)

(Say this first paragraph is your existing story)
After Israel, we had changed me and Sammy. We came back with a souvenir unintended, like an overstretched sweater, we fit wrong. I tried to imagine that it would dissipate, that we would wear it off the way skunk musk--over time, with effort--could be diminished. But it was with us and it lingered.

(Incorporating the Why assignment.)
Because of that Saturday when we found the bottle tree, because of Aster, the harvest still sleeping in the garden, because of the snowfall that first January together, the avalanche that followed, because of eleven more Januaries, the dozen years folding over like ribbon candy with their ups and downs and rippled sweetnesses and brittleness.

Contemporary Literature

Tuesday 10/12/10 Bukowski
Tom Waits reads CB
An Almost Made-Up Poem
A Radio with Guts and Love is a Dog from Hell
Only the Truly Lost

Trivia: Barfly is loosely based on Bukowski.

Vonnegut discussion. The Beat vibe.
Read John Berryman essays here (yes, all)
and this one
and this. Plus this. This interview

Thursday 10/14/10 More in the mix. Discussion of Berryman and Confessionalists.


I think you need another weekend. I would like to see these projects be really good and thoughtful.

Reviewing for each class:


Prompt for yawps:

Manifesto Requesting that...
Rant Against/For

Or you can choose to ekphrastically respond by using painting, drawing, music, poetry, sculpture, etc. inspired by a piece of literature. If this is a public response--say leaving a canvas at a bus stop or decorating a tree, you must find a way to document it for the day of your presentation.

I would like all yawps sent along to Emma Bolden's site (The Yawp). Let her know your name, contact info and that you are a student of CCAD.


Any of the above or simply send in your manifesto and let me know that you did.

Otherwise, our next assignment will be ekphrastic and you can double-up or do something new for it. (Per our class discussion.)

Resonates well with our discussion of elegies

Condolence Note: Los Angeles
The sky is desert blue,
Like the pool. Secluded.
No swimmers here. No smog—

Unless you count this twisting
Brush fire in the hills. Two kids
Sit, head-to-head, poolside,

Rehearsing a condolence note.
Someone has died, "Not an intimate,
Perhaps a family friend," prompts

The Manners Guide they consult.
You shouldn't say God never makes
Mistakes, she quotes, snapping her

Bikini top. Right, he adds—You
Could just say, He's better off—or
Heaven was always in his future.

There's always a better way to say
We're sorry that he's dead—but
they're back inside their music now,

Pages of politeness fallen between them.
O do not say that the Unsaid drifts over us
Like blown smoke: a single spark erupts

In wildfire! Cup your hands, blow out
This wish for insight. Say: Forgive me
For living when you are dead. Say pardon

My need to praise, without you, this bright
Morning sky. It belongs to no one—
But I offer it to you, heaven in your future—

Along with silent tunes from the playlist,
The end-time etiquette book dropped
From the hand of the young sleeper.

It's all we have left to share. The book
Of paid respects, the morning's hot-blue
iPod, sunlit words on a page, black border.

Carol Muske-Dukes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fiction Workshop Weekend Homework

Read this interview with Melanie Rae Thon and be prepared to discuss how her methods inform or contrast with your own.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's Yawp!

Lit-Kitties, we already did this! (Your manifestos!) Now let's show them off. Read this post and send yours in. I'll do one, too. As for you guys (poetry, fiction) it would be so easy to whip up a quick short-short or poem about change. Let's show them that CCAD can yawp with the best of them. Let me know if you need help submitting or coming up with a topic or exercise.

The posting below is by Emma Bolden, a fine poet and yawper in her own right. She sent it her facebook friends and I am passing it along to you:

You might already know about my new project The Yawp, a public poetry/community art project housed at – and if so, I thank you (seriously, like, a Double Rainbow of gratitude) for your support and encouragement and yawping. I hope you don't mind me sending this mass-mailed message, but I'm organizing an exciting Yawp event for 10/10/10, which several organizations have designated as Global Work Day, a day to work to better the environment and spark positive change (skip to the last paragraph if you're a regular Yawper to see what's going on on 10/10/10!). What better way to do so than through community activism and art?!

A little background information about the site itself: for the past two semesters, I've given my poetry students one deceptively simple task as their final project. Their challenge? To find a way to get poetry out into the world. I was stunned with their inventive, exciting, and witty responses: poems Sharpied onto balloons which were then tied to fence posts and benches. Poems folded into origami boats, tucked in empty water bottles, and let loose in a local river. Poetrymobiles riding the streets of Lexington. Spontaneous public poetry slams. Poems written on white boards, on mirrors, on Post-It notes taped on appropriately-theme aisles in Wal-Mart – poetry was everywhere, and it was a beautiful thing. This summer, I started wondering what would happen if there was a place where others could respond to such a challenge, and post their responses – and thus The Yawp began.

The concept behind the site is relatively simple: write a poem (or story or essay or anything). Or find a poem (or story or essay or anything) that you really, really love, or that changed your life, or that you think other people need to read. Find some way to get that poem (or anything) out into the world (following, of course, all legal practices and laws and so forth). Take a photo of your Yawp, or tell the story of it, and I post it on the site – and, hopefully, other people will be inspired, and find their own way to get their own poem (or story or essay or anything) out into the world.

We exist in a time in which poetry and literature – and, well, all the arts, really – risk increasing isolation and separation from the community at large. We exist in a time when the writing community – and, well, the arts community as a whole, really – risks becoming increasingly divisive and divided. But we also exist in a time in which social networking brings us all closer together – and also increases access to literature and the arts. Some of the most inventive forms of poetry, from Flarf to the hay(na)ku to hypertext verse, have come into existence and proliferated on – and, in many ways, because of – the Internet. There are Twitter hash tags devoted to haiku and micropoetry and six word short stories – and I could go on and on.

I guess it all comes down to this: folks, people LIKE POETRY. People READ POETRY. And people WRITE POETRY. So why not create more opportunities to see art in the REAL community through the VIRTUAL community? And why not take this opportunity to spark change?

My challenge for 10/10/10 is simple: think about something you want to change, be it environmental or social or political – anything, really. Write about it. Or find writing about it. Get that writing out into the world. Or send it to The Yawp (we're accepting contributions online through Submishmash!) and I'll get it out into the world for you. If you're a teacher, get your students to write about change. If you're a parent, get your children to write about change. And bear in mind that writing is a form of action, of bearing witness – and that writing can inspire us to greatness, to empathy, and to move from writing about change to making change.
The Yawp
Today’s Yawp comes to use from the talented Cory Funk (known as “Q” in the photo, due to those ubiquitous and dreadful college bulletin board rules), who can be found as funkomatic on Twitter and monkeyrivertown on Flickr.