Tagged with peter meinke

Residency day 8

We’re beginning to draw to a close. The schedule is starting to open up a bit. The morning seminar was Roy Peter Clark and Tom French from the Poynter Institute talking about the importance of sequencing in writing. They offered up what might be called the 2-3-1 formula, where the most important thing comes at the end, the second most important at the beginning and the least important in the middle, an idea which scales from the sentence to the paragraph to the section to the work. I can see it being a useful technique in my writing, although at the same time, too slavish a devotion to it could get a bit wearying.

In our morning workshop, we finished the last of the student works, leaving me a bit curious about what we’ll do tomorrow. If past experience is any guide, it will be writing exercises.

The afternoon slot was filled with a second synthesis session, where we largely focused on feedback about the sessions.

I had some free time after that since my final contract consult session will be tomorrow. I went back to the hotel and did some writing and reading. I had planned on walking to Ybor City where the evening’s reading was going to take place, but found myself faced with a monsoon. I ended up getting a ride with another student.

The reading featured Erika Dawson, Therese Svoboda, and Peter Meinke from our faculty along with three outside writers. Of those three, only one caught my attention, but holy cow, it was good stuff. This writer, Michael Angelo Rumore is someone to watch. I expect to see great things from him.

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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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