Tagged with maile chapman

Beautiful sentences

And what Sunny would like to say, but doesn’t, is that she’s afraid that after living here she’ll go home no different. She’ll be the same as she was, and she won’t have learned anything about anything.

Maile Chapman, Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto

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Beautiful sentences

A missed opportunity here; when else, and where else, will she ever be asked to dance again? The answer is never, and nowhere.

Maile Chapman, Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto

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Beautiful sentences

Real need is one thing, but choosing frailty is another, and Sunny herself has seen real frailty, unchosen, and as a result she would do anything to comfort real physical pain, except cultivate and indulge it. Maybe this is what’s wrong: some are here only to have their pain—or their discomfort—cultivated and indulged.

Maile Chapman, Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto.

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Beautiful sentences

“I don’t like this game,” says Mrs Minder. 
“Yes you do,” says Julia. “You just don’t understand it.” 
Maile Chapman, Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto.

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Residency day 2

This was really the first real day of the residency. I’ve decided to not to continue with Tampa Review Online, so I had some open time in the morning which I dedicated to some last-minute critique work. And thence to the first workshop session. No details about the work, but Tibor follows the Iowa format in which the author remains silent until the end of the discussion of her work. We also had an interesting discussion about some of the financial and logistical aspects of the writing life (agents, publishers, being the lead title, etc.)

After lunch, we had the first of the genre workshops. In fiction, with Jason Ockert, Jessica Anthony and Maile Chapman, we talked about genre as in sci-fi/romance/vampires/etc. The discovery of “Bonnet Romance” by some workshop participants sparked a bit of mirth and curiosity.

One of our exercises was looking closely at the openings of The DaVinci Code (as an example of bad writing) and Carrie (as an example of good writing, although I wonder whether some of the humor there was unintentional).

We also managed to get the great quote from Jason, “We wait for the sex, we wait for the elves.”

The afternoon seminar was another visit to the book arts studio, although I managed to instead space out during my opportunity to see paste paper made while watching part of a documentary on the Linotype machine. I’ve been thinking about writing something about the Linotype getting into some of the design choices that it forced on the type designers as well as talking about the mechanics of the great beast. As much as I saw of the documentary focused on the mechanics and seemed to gloss over the aesthetic limitations of the machine.

The evening readings were from Erika Dawson, who read a few of her poems, and Karen Russell, who read an extended excerpt from Swamplandia! Given that we looked at a different excerpt from Swamplandia! in the last residency, if I don’t get around to reading this book, I might end up having the whole thing read to me by the time I finish my MFA.

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Residency day 9

The morning seminar was entitled “Reading Like a Writer” but was ultimately about what sorts of things to do with our annotations in the course of the tutorial period plus some general information on how things will work in the MFA.

For our final workshop, we did a couple of writing exercises. I played with an idea I’ve had for a while to intertwine two narrators—I had imagined doing it on a sentence basis, but for the exercise, I did it on a paragraph basis instead.

The afternoon seminar was Maile Chapman talking on writing Historical Fiction, a topic which I have a great interest because of The Archbishop’s Son, although there wasn’t much there that I didn’t already know.

I had my final contract consultation where the details of what I’ll be reading and writing over the tutorial period were hammered out, and from there we went to the closing reception which was an opportunity to socialize in a big room with somewhat loud music after some initial speeches and announcements, a painful experience for an introvert like myself.

And with that the residency came to a close.

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Residency day 6

Today began with a seminar by Peter Meinke which seemed to have been better-planned for a small group of poets than the entire student body courtesy of a last-minute cancellation of the opposing talk on experimental fiction. Meinke’s views on poetry are a bit opposed to mine. I stand more with Charles Bernstein, who wrote in “Against National Poetry Month as Such”:

The path taken by the Academy’s National Poetry Month, and by such foundations as Lannan and the Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest, have been misguided because these organizations have decided to promote no poetry but the idea of poetry, nd the idea of poetry too often has meant almost no poetry at all. Time and time again we hear the official spokespersons tell us they want to support projects that give speedy and efficient access to poetry and that the biggest obstacle to this access is, indeed, poetry, which may not provide the kind of easy reading required by such mandates.

The solution: find poetry that most closely resembles the fast and easy reading experiences of most Americans under the slogans—Away with Difficulty! Make Poetry Palatable for the People! I think particularly of the five-year plan launched under the waving banners of Disguise the Acid Taste of the Aesthetic with NutriSweet Coating, which emphasized producing poetry in short sound bites, with MTV-type images to accompany them, so the People will not even know they are getting poetry.

The afternoon workshop was the “wildcard workshop” which gave us an opportunity to spend some time in an intimate setting with a different faculty member than was our usual mentor. I chose Maile Chapman, largely because of how much I was intrigued by her narrative point of view choices in Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto. I’m not entirely sure what brought the other eleven students, but the size of the group implied that somewhere, there were one or more mentors with empty or nearly-empty rooms.

The afternoon seminar was Arthur Flowers, speaking largely about Zora Neale Hurston in something that was half lecture half performance. There was a great deal of energy about it and I look forward to hearing his reading tomorrow.

The evening’s readings came from Josip Novakovich and Don Morrill, but since I’m writing this well past my bed-time, I’ll say little more than intrigued readers should read their books rather than the summaries of a weary grad student.

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Residency day 1

Today was a largely administrative day. I overslept and missed the escort from hotel to campus, but I did manage to still arrive for the breakfast/checkin/meet and greet in the morning. This was followed by a brief orientation session and an introduction to the blackboard system that we’re to use for all of our assignments.

Fun fact revealed during orientation: Out of 46 students total, all but 15 are fiction writers. The rest are poets (8) and creative non-fiction (7). The poets look to have a lot of opportunity for individual attention in the program.

Lunch was salad and sandwiches. Not really a great selection of breads, nothing really grainy which is what I’ve grown accustomed to. There was a big block of free time in the afternoon that I dedicated to getting some reading and writing done.

Late afternoon was an introduction to the library services, then we had a reception at Plant Hall, the Moorish-style former hotel that’s the center of the University of Tampa campus. As an introvert, I found this to be about an hour too long for me to really be able to do the stand and mingle thing so I wandered off a bit to see if I could find my way to somewhere I didn’t belong.

The evening’s readings were from Maile Chapman and Brock Clarke. The reading was in theory open to the public, but I didn’t see any sign of this. Maile read a short story of hers, while Clarke read the first three chapters of a new novel he’s working on, something that sounded quite appealing and I look forward to reading it when it’s published.

Tomorrow will be a full and busy day.

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