Thursday, December 20, 2012

Post-Semester Post: Fall 2012

It's been over for a week, but I post now.

Poetry Workshop

I finished a chapbook for the class, and I think it came out pretty good. Of course, the poems are not done. I should be finishing them up (plus a few more) in the next few weeks. My poems range from talking about sleep and unconsciousness to writing, porn, Poe and happiness - some of these may be related. It was fun. Made me think about whether I would teach one. I'm definitely not qualified to teach one - I'm worried I might never be. I remember saying on the first day, "I don't really consider myself to be a good poet." I didn't say "very good" - I'm really aiming just to be "good." As they say, "A man must know his limitations" - well, I will continue to strive in this genre, who knows? But I will probably concentrate on fiction. I've sent out two stories so far.

Short Fiction

Read a lot of great stories. The class, concentrated on the craft of the short form, really taught me a lot about the evolution of the short form. The evolution itself, from explicit to implicit meaning, and from maximalism to minimalism, seems to ask: what is the essence of the short story? We see it today with flash fiction. Even in the poetry workshop, I saw many things that challenged the definition of a poem: table of contents, lists, aphorisms, etc. It's a question I will grapple with in the future, no doubt.

18thC Novel

I'm just glad it's over.

Seriously, though, not that I wasn't being serious, this class also made me think about the definition and purpose of a novel. It seems to me that it is really an attempt at discovery: of self, and of writing. It is an exploration of ideas and experiences through narrative. It is a form of writing that, through exhaustive narration, aims at pushing the limits of what writing, and language, is.

A great semester. Did a lot of work. Learned a lot about writing, about categorizing (a human folly?), about myself and what and why I want to write. I don't know. That's what I learned.

To find out my classes for next semester, stay tuned. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Midsemester Post: Fall 2012

The middle of the semester passed some time ago. Sorry. I've been concentrating on school work mostly. About the courses now.

Poetry Workshop

My first. Never considered myself to be a very good poet. Definitely not so now. I've learned I have certain tendencies, such as toward abstraction. Still I think I've written some good poems that I plan on publishing some time, maybe a chapbook - and in the very distant future, a collection. I've also learned that poems, like stories, or anything else I do that is creative, is almost never finished. I always end up learning something new, a new way a poem wasn't good, and improve. I'm glad I took the workshop. I was thinking about not doing so. Fiction is what I'm thinking about concentrating on in the future. But who knows.

Short Fiction

A cool class that's 50 percent lit and 50 percent workshop. Our focus in reading the short stories (Hemingway, Cather, London, James, de Maupassant, Oats, Porter, etc) is on craft. There's also a creative project at the end. I'm writing a story based on an old news report about a recluse who hid his mother's corpse at their home. I feel I can relate to this.

18thC Novel

I've learned one key thing: I don't 18thC literature much. What's frustrating is taking a lit course and not really liking the reading materials. Reminds me of my undergrad experience. But I've learned so much important, valuable stuff about the genre of the novel, its origins and boundaries (if there are any), about narrative, and so on. Also, Lawrence Sterne was a genius.

This has already been a highly rewarding MFA experience. There's about a year left. Part of me wishes I could stay forever. Then I think about how much fucking money I would have to pay for that.