Monday, November 24, 2014

Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, 2010

n.b. I'm working on migrating my notes from various lectures I attended through the years from FB onto my blog (5 of 5).


Craft Talks

Steve Almond:
1. We can't sympathize with a character unless we know about his/her life.
4. Allow your personality to be conveyed on the page.
5. The path for truth runs through shame--stories that are good are only good because they're dark with our freakish secrets.
6. Excessive emotional involment is the whole point.
7. Overexposure is essential--write about the darkest most shameful stuff.
10. Love is paying attention--paying attention to people, to things, especially when you'd rather turn away.
12. Writing is a moral act--you are trying to get the reader to feel more than he/she was feeling before.
14. Everyone, even Paris Hilton, has a rich and tortured internal life.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Junot Diaz Talk - September 16, 2010, George Washington University

n.b. I'm working on migrating my notes from various lectures I attended through the years from FB onto my blog (4 of 5).


Writers get too much advice. There are whole shelves of advice for writers. Everybody wants to write and nobody wants to read. It's like young people--young people don't need advice, they need support.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jonathan Franzen, National Cathedral, 2/18/2011

n.b. I'm working on migrating my notes from various lectures I attended through the years from FB onto my blog (3 of 5).


I really really wanted to write about competition between women in this book [Freedom]. We live in this country that celebrates competition. It's at the heart of our economic system and yet nobody wants to talk about it. There's this unbridled celebration of business competition, and yet when it's some other country [competing with the U.S.] the breaks get put on in a hurry. ... I was particularly fascinated by the phenomenon of competition between women. How it's absolutely taboo. It's [considered] bad to be competitive [as a woman].

There are certain basic facts that political rhetoric in this country wants to deny. [Literature is an avenue through which to address those facts.] So much of literature is about failure. The ways we all fail, really.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Summer 2011

n.b. I'm working on migrating my notes from various lectures I attended through the years from FB onto my blog (2 of 5).


Craft Talks
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*Brenda Hillman* Bouquet of I's

A sampling of different kinds of I's

1. Dream-time of surreal I (Dickinson's "I heard I fly buzz / when I died")
     Dickinson: "It's kind of a translation of the self into another state. We can all try this with our deepest visionary self."
"A particularly visionary quality you can only get from your dream self. You are there a lot as a poet."
Harryette Mullen's "Muse and Drudge: "What she IS switches every line." "I'm more human than human, I'm deeper human than human."
Paul Celan: takes you deeper into an image that is pretty general; it's a kind of loneliness; absolute isolation. Pierre Joris trans. 1995, Washburn trans.

2. Large self-mythologizing (Whitman's "I am large, I contain multitudes", Creeley's "I know a man")

Tomas Transtromer, "Guard Duty": "I am the turnstile."


Monday, November 17, 2014

Brenda Hillman, University of Chicago POEM PRESENT Talk, Poetry and Politics, 4/27/2012

n.b. I'm working on migrating my notes from various lectures I attended through the years from FB onto my blog. This 1 of 5.



The question of if all poetry is political. Question ends up involving the question of whether you think you have a certain audience. In a certain context any poem is less political. Also has to do w/ what the author announces as their mision. e.g., Whitman's Preface to Leaves of Grass (after Wordsworth). Or Breton's Surrealist Manifesto, with its stated goal to "derange," dovetails with socialist manifestos of the contemporary left. Similarly, tracking the unraveling o the authorial voice as a literary task that has a political agenda in 20/21st c. poetry: Language Poetry, Oulipo. Structure having no relation to topic. Stein, Wittgenstein.
Eugene Ostashevsky (Russian-born Am. poet).
Goal of deranging the ref of the poem so that they could have an encoded relationship to the Stalinist authority.

The Romantics
"I love every single one of them. I love every single thing they ever wrote."
"I think that they Romantics are the base of every inclination in American Poetry because freedom was at the base of everything they did" (freedom of form, freedom of topic, etc. "It's hard to have a parent that lets you do everything you want. But you can find everything you need in that permission."
Shelley's "A Defence of Poetry"