Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Creative Writing, Tenure, and the idiot savants caught in between

January 14, 2008

After stumbling upon an interesting discussion about the publication of literary journals, specifically poetry, then after rambling long enough to throw in one Han Solo reference, I was reminded of an incident that occurred in the English dept. while I was getting my MA. 


A real-world application of literary criticism (and other tangents)

January 1, 2008

This first paragraph is an afterthought, but I now recall why I sat down to write this. I moved a bookshelf from my den to a back room (where I house way too many comics), and am in the process of putting the books back on it. Anyway, every time I do this, I can’t help but think of the process as one of the rare, personal and physical applications of literary criticism. It’s as if each placement of a book – those on low shelves stacked and tucked away, others prominently displayed square in the middle shelf with no regard to genre or title – is a little symbolic essay on the title, or the author; a metaphor for how much the book affected me, or how much I value the book in terms other than monetary. It seems like one of the few times that one can truly apply literary criticism, physically, without words and instead in the real world – a thing which too often feels absent from the literary classroom. It is such a pleasure.

Mr. Fish and The Incredible Appearing Poem

December 30, 2007

Lately I’ve been bothered with Stanley Fish’s Is There A Text In This Class; I’ve had the book for a while, and have read most of the essays long before that, but for some reason lately I’ve been picking it back up.  Mainly, I have been mulling over why I know, even if only instinctual – in my gut – why he is wrong on several of his ideas about poems.  


Everybody wants to be a poem (part one)

December 10, 2007

I actually had to remove the tag “poetry” (and related variations) from the tag surfer feature because of the sheer amount of people’s poetry that was showing up. Arghh. Something they should tell you early in life is

1) never post any poetry online, and
2) if you do, for God’s sake don’t let other people read it, and
3) never look for comments, criticism or advice online.

At least not if you take the writing seriously. It’s hard enough to reach the “outside world” when you are in a creative writing program, much less getting the internet mixed up with it.

    Writing, poetry especially, is such a weird thing; it is so deeply associated with “feelings” that people are hesitant to actually give criticism. The legacy of modernism and the Beat poets is that when we neither understand nor like a poem, that alone isn’t enough to disqualify the poem as having failed – i.e. being a “bad” poem.  In fact, in many cases it would only reinforce the idea that the poem is up to the status quo.