Sunday, February 29, 2004

Elle finally joins the blogroll. Welcome aboard.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Anna—the contest you pointed out is not only hokey, but very close to being a fraud. Everyone who enters it "wins" and then pays a hefty sum for a copy of an anthology with their poem in it (an anthology which will never see the inside of a bookstore). A few people do win big prizes, but very few "serious" poets take this outfit seriously. So poets, beware.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

At long last we have a link to Matt J.'s blog. Check it out.

And here is the list of books that you will all be reviewing. Remember that these are due in the last week of classes:
Angela - George Albon, Brief Capital of Disturbances
Anna - Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
Matt G. - Brenda Coultas, A Handmade Museum
Alissa - Ann Cummins, Red Ant House
Emily - Matthew Derby, Super Flat Times
Susie - Christopher Edgar, At Port Royal
Amber - Lisa Fishman, Dear, Read
Julia - Ben Greenman, Superworse
Jonathan - Adam Johnson, Emporium
Yaw - Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
Irena - Katy Lederer, Winter Sex
Ikea - Andrea Lee, Interesting Women
Jen - Yedda Morrison, Crop
Matt J. - Z.Z. Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Jill - Luis J. Rodriguez, The Republic of East L.A.
Eric - Lily Tuck, Limbo and Other Places I Have Lived
Elle - Matthew Zapruder, American Linden

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'd like to recommend to you this article: Hurrah for Euphony, written by one of my favorite poets, Ronald Johnson. It is "Dedicated to Young Poets" and it's full of ideas and advice worth pondering.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Schedule of Assignments

Here is the complete schedule of assignments beginning with this week. Note the new blog assignment for this/next week as well.

Week 4: Constraint Is Freedom? Writing Is Reading?

Mon. Feb. 16: Discuss readings. Writing as exegesis, composition as explanation.

Wed. Feb. 18: Workshop three Oulipean pieces. Exercise 5: Write a piece in which the arrangement of words on the page is integral to the piece’s total effect or meaning. Readings: Charles Olson, “Projective Verse” (PAP 613); Hannah Weiner, from Clairvoyant Journal (PAP 185); Ted Berrigan, “Bean Spasms” (PAP 281); Clark Coolidge, “Brill” (PAP 370); Ron Padgett, “Big Bluejay Composition” (PAP 402); Alice Notley, “How Spring Comes” (PAP 462).

This week’s blog: Meditate on the place you come from and describe it as a physical space, as terrain: is it hilly, flat, urban, rural, near water, far from water? How do people get around? What relationship does the place have to its economy? How is the terrain here at Cornell similar or different? How does your place feel?

Week 5: Head-Syllable, Heart-Line

Mon. Feb. 23: Discuss readings. Space on the page, representational space.

Wed. Feb. 25: Workshop three spatial pieces. Exercise 6: Write a piece that engages with pop culture, by employing a “high” form with “pop” content—or vice versa. Readings: Lynda Barry, “Knowing Things” (PAF 212) and “The Surprise” (PAF 214); Curtis White, from Memories of My Father Watching T.V. (PAF 256); Frank O’Hara, “Ave Maria” (PAP 126) and “Poem” (PAP 129); Allen Ginsberg, “A Supermarket in California” (PAP 135); John Ashbery, “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape” (PAP 177); Bruce Andrews, “Species Means Guilt” (PAP 532).

This week’s blog: Talk about your major (or, if you’re undecided, your probable area of specialization) and what relation it might have to your writing. Do you write “like an engineer”? Are their concepts or ideas from your field that could be applied to writing a poem or story?

Week 6: Culture vs. Culture

Mon. Mar. 1: Discuss readings. “High” versus “low.”

Wed. Mar. 3: Workshop three pop culture pieces. Exercise 7: Write a poem or page that deploys unusual syntax, paratactical sentence structure, is one long sentence, or is deliberately ungrammatical. Readings: Donald Barthelme, “Sentence” (PAF 33); Robert Creeley, “The World” (PAP 150) and “Age” (PAP 153); Kenward Elmslie, “Amazon Club” (PAP 192); Lyn Hejinian, from My Life (PAP 385); Bernadette Mayer, “Gay Full Story” (PAP 467); Charles Bernstein, “Semblance” (PAP 676).

This week’s blog: Where do you write? What do you write with? Describe the physical dimension that writing has for you.

Week 7: Sentences

Mon. Mar. 8: Discuss readings. Syntax ~ energy.

Wed. Mar. 10: Workshop three “sentence” pieces. Exercise 8: Write a poem or story that has a factually true basis. Readings: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, from Dictée (PAF 161); Tim O’Brien, “How to Tell a True War Story” (PAF 174); James Laughlin, “The Inn at Kirchstetten” (PAP 26); Frank O’Hara, “The Day Lady Died” (PAP 125) and “Personism: A Manifesto” (PAP 633); Barrett Watten, “Statistics” (PAP 536).

This week’s blog: Who decides the truth for you? Where do you go for the truth?

Week 8: True Stories

Mon. Mar. 15: Discuss readings. Documents vs. testimony.

Wed. Mar. 17: Workshop three true stories. Exercise 9: Write a poem or story that responds to an artwork at the Johnson Museum without actually describing it. Readings: Maxine Hong Kingston, from Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (PAF 458); Robert Duncan, “A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar” (PAP 30); Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “[In Goya’s greatest scenes we seem to see]” (PAP 43), “Monet’s Lilies Shuddering” (PAP 50); Hilda Morley, “For Elaine de Kooning” (PAP 54); Frank O’Hara, “Why I Am Not a Painter” (PAP 129); Robert Creeley, “Bresson’s Movies” (PAP 152); W.H. Auden, “Museé des Beaux Arts” (handout).

This week’s blog: Your 500-word response to a literary magazine is due. Describe what the magazine seems to be about—what kind of writing it seeks to publish and promote. Single out one or two pieces in the magazine that particularly impressed, amused, or irritated you, and explain why. Make a case for reading the magazine or else recommend an alternative.


Mon. Mar. 22: NO CLASS.

Wed. Mar 24: NO CLASS

This week’s blog: Describe the artwork you encountered at the Johnson and discuss what you think it may have to teach you about writing.

Week 10: Ekphrasis and Answer

Mon. Mar. 29: Discuss readings. Art as dialogue; situating culture.

Wed. Mar. 31: Workshop three art response pieces. Exercise 10: Write a dialogue (prose or verse) between two characters in which the true subject of the conversation (what the characters really want from each other, consciously or unconsciously) remains unspoken. Readings: Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants” (handout); Joyce Carol Oates, “The Turn of the Screw” (PAF 396); David Trinidad, “Double Trouble” (PAP 597).

This week’s blog: Write a detailed response to one of your classmate’s blog posts.

Week 11: Dialogue

Mon. Apr. 5: Discuss readings. Latency of the unpsoken.

Wed. Apr. 7: Workshop three dialogues. Exercise 11: Write a poem or story in which a character struggles in some way with the place he or she is from—his or her environment. Readings: Bobbie Ann Mason, “Shiloh” (PAF 271); Don DeLillo, from White Noise (PAF 527); Charles Olson, “Letter 3” (PAP 11); Frank O’Hara, “Personal Poem” (PAP 126); Paul Blackburn, “Brooklyn Narcissus” (PAP 155).

This week’s blog: Meditate on the place you came from and describe its history: when was your town founded, who founded it, who was there before the founders? What historical events took place there or impacted it? How has the history of your home shaped your own life?

Week 12: The Place of Character .

Mon. Apr. 12: Discuss readings. Place as character, character as fate.

Wed. Apr. 14: Workshop three short stories. Exercise 12: Write a poem or story that directly or indirectly engages a historical event with political meaning (or a political event with historical meaning). Readings: Art Spiegelman, from Maus (PAF 295); Susan Daitch, “X ≠ Y” (PAF 338); Sherman Alexie, “Captivity” (PAF 342); Amiri Baraka, “Three Modes of History and Culture” (PAP 260); Bruce Andrews, “Stalin’s Genius” (PAP 531); Susan Howe, “There Are Not Leaves Enough to Crown to Cover to Crown to Cover” (PAP 646)

This week’s blog: Write a historical sketch of the ten years prior to your own birth.

Week 13: Historics

Mon. Apr. 19: Discuss readings. Engagement.

Wed. Apr. 21: Workshop three historical pieces. Exercise 13: Write a sonnet. Readings: Assorted 16th and 17th century sonnets (handout); Ted Berrigan, from The Sonnets (PAP 279); Bernadette Mayer, “Sonnet,” “Sonnet,” and “Birthday Sonnet for Grace” (PAP 468); Art Lange, “Sonnet for the Season” (PAP 587).

This week’s blog: Consider Pound’s three major modes for the intensification of language: melopoeia (musicality), phanopoeia (the creation of images), and logopoeia (the interaction and play of the expected connotations and contexts of words). Which has been the most difficult for you? Which speaks to your strength as a writer?

Week 14: The Sonnet

Mon. Apr. 26: Discuss readings. Argument and eros.

Wed. Apr. 28: Workshop three sonnets. Exercise 14: Write a poem or story that categorically rejects some aspect of the world as you’ve found it and/or imagines an alternative. Readings: Donna Haraway, from A Cyborg Manifesto (PAF 603); Frederic Jameson, from “Postmodernism and Consumer Society” (PAF 654); Bernadette Mayer, “The Obfuscated Poem” (PAP 658); Bruce Andrews, from “Poetry as Explanation, Poety as Praxis” (PAP 668); Victor Hernández Cruz, “Mountains in the North: Hispanic Writing in the USA” (PAP 672).

This week’s blog: Write a response to one of the readings for this week.

Week 15: Silence and Utopia

Mon. May 3: Workshop three “utopian” pieces.

Wed. May 5: Poetry recital! Everyone will recite the (10-line minimum) poem that they’ve memorized.

This week’s blog: Your 500-word response to a book of poetry or short stories is due.

Final Portfolio due Monday, May 17

Monday, February 16, 2004

MattyG's Oulipean piece has been e-mailed to everyone; if by some chance you haven't gotten it by Tuesday, please e-mail me.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Those of you intrigued or incensed by the Walter Abish story we're reading this week, "Ardor / Awe / Atrocity," ought to check out this article about him by John Updike in this week's The New Yorker. I like this quote of Abish's that appears there:
Feeling a distrust of the understanding that is intrinsic to any communication, I decided to write a book in which my distrust became a determining factor upon which the flow of the narrative was largely predicated.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Ikea and Angela are, I think, the final additions to the blogroll. By the way, you should check out this review of a play Ikea's appearing in that was printed in the Ithaca Times. They don't much like the play, but they do like Ikea, and there's a picture of her, too.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Please welcome Alissa to the blogroll.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Hm, I see a number of you have enforced normative gendering on the name of this blog. Well, cut it out! It's Aunt Walt and Uncle Emily, dagnabit.
Anna and Emily have thrown their blogs into the ring. Who's left?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Jen is molto espressivo. You heard it here first.

If by chance you're not up for spending all day Saturday at this conference (and frankly who could blame you), you should at least consider showing up for the big poetry (and probably some prose) reading afterwards at the Lost Dog Cafe (upstairs) on Cayuga Street from 7 to 9.
Workshop Schedule

Some empty slots here, which means some of you didn't get the form (slackers). If you aren't on this list for both Round One and Round Two you need to get on the stick for Monday.
Round One

Wed., Feb. 4


Wed., Feb. 11


Wed., Feb. 18

Matt G.

Wed., Feb. 25

Matt J.

Wed., Mar. 3


Wed., Mar. 10


Round Two

Wed., Mar. 17

Wed., Mar. 24


Wed., Mar. 31


Wed., Apr. 7

Matt G.

Wed., Apr. 14


Wed., Apr. 21

Matt J.

Wed., Apr. 28


First Conference Schedule

Here is the schedule for your conferences this week and next week. Remember that all conferences take place in the Green Dragon Cafe in Sibley hall, NOT my office:
Thursday, Feb. 5

3:00 PM Jennifer
3:20 PM Emily
3:40 PM Susie
4:00 PM Jill

Monday, Feb. 9

11:20 AM Elle
11:40 AM Julia
12:00 PM Anna
1:00 PM Irena
1:20 PM Aliissa
1:40 PM Jonathan

Wednesday, Feb. 11

11:20 AM Amber
11:40 AM Angela
12:00 PM Ikea
1:00 PM Matt J.
1:40 PM Yaw

Thursday, Feb. 12

11:40 AM Matt G.
If you don't see your name here, send me an e-mail.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Amber is quick like a bunny.

I want to announce here that there are two readings happening in the English Department this week that you should be aware of. At 4:30 PM tomorrow (Wednesday Feb. 4) in the English Department Lounge (Goldwin Smith 258) a fiction writer and a poet from the creative writing program will be reading. At the exact same time at the exact same place the poet Larissa Szporluk (I'm a fan of her work) will be reading on Thursday, Feb. 5.

Look alive!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Small Press Culture Workers

This is an event happening in dowtown Ithaca this Saturday that I highly recommend. Some very innovative writers and publishers will be there.
Literary Magazine Reviews

Here is the list of literary magazines y'all signed up to review for Week 7:
Boston Review - Susie
Chain - Julia
Colorado Review - Angela
Denver Quarterly - Anna
Exquisite Corpse - Emily
Fence - Jennifer
Kenyon Review - Yaw
McSweeney's - Jonathan
New American Writing - Elle
Octopus - Alissa
Paris Review - Nick
Pindeldyboz - Jill
Pleiades - Ikea
Slope - Amber
Tin House - Matt
Verse - Eric
Zoetrope: All-Story - Irena

Eric and Yaw (who obviously knows a thing or two about web design) have joined our intrepid crew.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Nick, Matt, Julia, and Radiohead fan Jonathan are all on board. Who's next?

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