Monday, October 26, 2009

Spring 2010 Course Description

8C:001 Creative Writing Studio Workshop

Steven Toussaint

Sec. 020 M 11:30-1:20 424 NH


“Through the empty arch comes a wind, a mental wind blowing relentlessly over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents; a wind that smells of baby’s spittle, crushed grass, and jellyfish veil, announcing the constant baptism of newly created things.”

-Federico García Lorca, “Play and Theory of the Duende”


The arch is the page; the wind is whatever you generate and choose to write on it. In this course, we will follow Lorca’s cue, approaching language not as something reducible to mere explication, but as something with visceral energy, something to be experienced and embodied. Apart from weekly creative writing exercises and assignments, we will also be engaging with a number of selected texts (poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction) that not only announce the “constant baptism of new things” but also test the limits of expectation and press on the boundaries between genres. Furthermore, we will expand our attention to music and film selections that, like our selected texts, seek to physically inhabit us and be inhabited by us. Boldness and enthusiasm are absolutely necessary for a productive and dynamic class.


Required texts (available at Prairie Lights Books):

In Search of Duende, Federico García Lorca, ISBN: 0811213765

Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino, ISBN: 0156453800

Additional readings provided by instructor

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

350 poems

Two good friends of mine, poets Adam Roberts and Eric Linsker, have organized in conjunction with 350.org a really bold and crucial initiative in response to global climate change. Here is Adam's description and a link to the blog: here here here!

For the project, 350 poets in the United States and abroad are being asked to write a 3.5 line poem--in a language of their choosing-- in response to climate change. Why 350? Because that's the agreed-on safe upper limit for carbon parts-per-million in the atmosphere (we're at 390 & rising, close to the point where irreversible climate shifts will take place.) 350.org is mobilizing climate actions across the country for October 24th -- more than 4,000 events (including this one) in over 160 different countries. The idea is that by participating, and forwarding actions like these to close ones around you, we are embedding the number 350 in the popular consciousness -- so that our governmental leaders will be pressured to shoot for it, specifically, as a meaningful and ambitious target.

Please check it out and show your support.