"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Monday, December 17, 2007

Writing Experimental Group

I'm putting this up here first, before sending out to this or that UO list-serv. I know at least one or two of you read this from time to time, so please comment if you have the time. Okay, here goes.

I've been kicking around the idea of a "Writing Experimental Group." Not an Experimental Writing Group, which would, I assume, assume that the writing practices of the group would be oriented toward the avant-garde, or Language Poetry, and so forth. I've nothing against these modes (and in fact have been known to read books by Ron Silliman and employ some of these practices in my own writing) but I'd like to be more inclusive. Poems and poetry, but also fiction, non-fiction, songs, if you have 'em.

I want to provide an alternative for those of us who aren't in an MFA program or who have been in MFA programs and don't want to repeat the experience, or those who are in an MFA program but are seeking something beyond the Workshop Experience. I'd like us to focus on our writing, but not in a "take a copy of this poem and write marginal comments and rebreak the lines and don't forget to say something positive too!" way. I'd like our practice, our experimental group practice, to evolve organically. Exercises, critiques, anti-critiques, discussion of OTHER writers, soccer matches, recipe exchange--any or all of these things could take place.

My reasons for wanting to do this are selfish, but then again, I think there are probably others in my position. I've been at this university in some way or another for over ten years. In that time, I've been in and out of various "communities," and I now find myself in a somewhat solitary place. I work an academic job in an office on a floor that is teeming with English grad students, but I don't actually know many of you. My "class" has up and gone and graduated and is assistant professing in some many places, and all I see are strange faces. I know that there must be some folks who do writing OTHER than term papers and dissertations. I'd like to get to know those folks. If you, or anyone you know, is interested, please respond! Grad student of faculty status is not required. English department membership is not required. No special degrees or utensils are required. Just bring yourself and some words.


sandrasimonds said...

I hope someone responded to this. Sounds like a great idea.


Craig said...

If you people can stand to read something I write, count me in. It may be drama though, since I'm teaching playwriting this term.