Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Note on My Absence

so a link about AWP


It's been nearly a month since my last post. Looking back, I find it amazing I got as many posts out in January as I did. Let's just say the months of December through February were not memorable.

Though, to be honest, I haven't seen a poem in a couple weeks that I've wanted to write on. (I don't look at every one, though.) So maybe also a bit of a drought in the prompts department as well. (This might be the little nudge that pushes me outside the original parameters of the blog.)

I have a couple of posts on draft, though. And life seems to be finding some stability. So hopefully I'll be back with some regularity to soon.

Until then, I thought I might drop this essay pointed out to me by an internet friend: "Thoughts for AWP Week: Glut in Creative Writing is Reverse Side of Drought in Humanities" by Anis Shivani, recently posted on The Nervous Breakdown site.

I have never heard of AWP spoken of in positive terms by a voice for which I have any respect. It is, as I said elsewhere, only ever been described as a bloated and rather grotesque game of Commercial Pursuit. But what makes this a particularly brilliant presentation is its spot on critique of Creative Writing in academia: one that simply and precisely pointing out the 900 lb gorilla that MFA culture swears doesn't exist.

Yes, you can find defenses of AWP, like this one by Aaron Gilbreath. Notice, however, how Gilbreath essentially is saying "go to the conference, but not actually for the conference." (I find the cult jokes in the article ironically humorous -- and not in the irony Gilbreath intended.)

So, my advice for today, read the Shivani with the mentality of "what to learn from this," not the mentality of "this is crap! AWP's great!" It is nigh clinical in its vivisection of MFA culture. (However brief the presentation.) Read it from this angle: "Assume everything is on the nose. What is that revealing about Creative Writing in the U.S.?" (Which is actually a very good method for any non-lunatic fringe criticism.) A final hint to reading it: it offends you, the problem is not with Shivani. It offends you because the hit was palpable.

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