Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Patrice Nganang

On Saturday, March 8th, in Mildred Sainer Auditorium, Patrice Nganang will give a talk on the personal and collective politics of African writing: “The Library of Njoya: The Dream from which I Write”

The talk is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.

In addition, there will be two forums where students can meet and speak with Nganang:

First, an open session at the Four Winds on Friday March 7, from 3-5:30 for students who want to talk to Nganang—in English, French or German—about his work, African literature, graduate study in comparative literature, etc.

Second, a lunch & roundtable on Saturday March 8.? Seating will be limited at this; if students want to attend, they need to contact Agne Milukaite or Marilee Pray ( for details.

More information about Nganang follows.


Patrice Nganang is a fascinating, powerful and provocative writer, academic & speaker. Originally from Cameroon (he left Cameroon in the wake of the protests in the early 1990s that came close to toppling the regime of Paul Biya), he holds a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt (Germany) and is currently on the faculty of SUNY Stonybrook (in comparative literature). He is a young and prolific author (he has published 3 novels to date, collections of poetry, short stories and novellas, as well as works of literary criticism on topics ranging from contemporary theater (a comparative study of Brecht and Soyinka) to African film. He has been awarded two prestigious French literary prizes, the Prix Marguerite Yourcenar in 2001 and the Grand Prix de la litt?rature de l’Afrique noire in 2002, both for his novel “Temps de chien” (which I translated as “Dog Days”).

His work is very political and inspiring. His fiction touches on issues ranging from the social manifestations of political oppression in Cameroon to the silenced history of the Bamileke genocide that followed Cameroon’s independence. Because he is most interested in creating a space for silenced voices to be heard, he weaves stories that are compelling, poignant and vibrant with humor. His essays are very political – whether challenging the passivity of African elites in the face of political violence or the self-important attitude of literary critics who judge African literature. This winter he traveled to The Hague to witness the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Nganang will be on the New College campus for 3 days, holding discussions and roundtables with students, and capping off his visit with a public talk on Saturday.

Monday, February 25, 2008

week four

Week Four
Appropriation and Finding
Found Poetry. Shakespeare, Rezinkoff, Acker.

Sources of Shakespeare's works:

Shakespeare AS a source (and adaptation)

Charles Reznikoff's TESTIMONY
at MAP (great resource)

from wikipedia:

Testimony was, initially, a prose retelling of stories that Reznikoff had discovered while working on court records. In these stories, Reznikoff discovered something of the story of America between 1855 and 1915 both in its diversity and its violence. Tellingly, he chose to omit the judgements...

why would that be?

Acker's resources were as diverse as Charles Dickens, Cervantes, Hawthorne, the film Key Largo, and pirates in general.

At the Academy of American Poets:

We've already talked about this a little bit, especially vis a vis the cento. Mantis, and Mantis: An Interpretation, by Louis Zukofsky are arguably the most fun to argue about. But today my thought is how centos are very like dictionary definitions, with their sample usage sentences, and how definitions are like centos.

Why and how is this? There are several pretty obvious ways and reasons, many of which have to do with some of the purposes of writing or words in writing & meaning.


originally "cheap books"

At the request of several students interested in DIY / small press
publishing, or just interested in seeing and talking about issues in
and around chapbooks, I have reserved

WRC 6 - 7:30 the following evenings:

Tues. 2/26 -- recent online and print chapbooks
Tues. 3/18 -- collaboration, layout, and the work
Tues. 4/15 -- production and distribution

chapbooks are not just for writers!

those interested in portfolio-making for graduate applications,
producing ephemera to sell or provide free at shows / performances, or
thinking about works in series will be as surprised and pleased as
those needing practice with .pdf distilling and printing / xeroxing two
sided copies

literary nonfiction

tends to be slightly, but definably different, from creative nonfiction

some of these are more nonfiction with literary qualities

what examples can you think of? leave a comment...

Edwidge Danticat
James Agee
William Carlos Williams, IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN
Vita Sackville-West
M.F.K. Fischer
Joseph Mitchell,Up in the Old Hotel
Virginia Woolf

Thursday, February 21, 2008

an invitation...

based on some discussion at the last writing collaborative meeting, I thought to repost

a new collaborative, multidisciplinary, multilingual blog
project called nuzzled sentence:

You can read more about it on the blog and see what kind of work is
being done there, but basically, it's a melting pot of work based on
the concept of "writing through" James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake." It
includes work in poetry, visual poetry, video poetry/film, audio work,
digital poetry, visual and digital art -- you name it.

We've begun with the Ten Thunderwords from the Wake as the first
artistic "catalyst" and will move on to other excerpts or aspects of
the Wake after that. We post original work, as well as collaborative
pieces done among participants.

I'd like to invite any who are interested in participating to
join us. I'm especially interested in a female take on FW, or "writing
(or re-writing) through" Joyce's text in a woman's voice (female =
anyone who self-identifies as a female). I would also like to
encourage bilingual or multilingual writers and artists who might be
interested to join us. It's not a huge commitment; participation is on
an "as-can," "as-inspired" basis.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Week Three "After Workshop"

Things that evolved from discussion week three were:

ars poetica (specifically within a work -- a work or portion of a work which discusses how art "should be")
vs. manifesto and poetics statement
in the work of John Ashbery

Murial Rukeyser, and specifically US 1

I neglected to bring Langston Hughes, Montage of a Dream Deferred, in.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Research and Readings

Week Three

How could a work be a reading of a theory, another text, another author?

Reader Response Theory
Stanley Fish
from Wikipedia

The reader is an active agent who imparts "real existence" to the work and completes its meaning through interpretation. Literature should be viewed as a performing art in which each reader creates his or her own, possibly unique, text-related performance.

As opposed, see New Criticism, T.S. Eliot, for example, or I.A. Richards

a text can display multiple simultaneous meanings
disregard authorial intention
disregard reader response

Or see formalism,
interpreting or evaluating literary works that focus on features of the text itself rather than on the contexts of its creation or the contexts of its reception.

Why and how could a creative work require information and interpretation?

Masterplots. How to write a story. The failure of "how to write a poem." Exercises and recipes for poems.

Bernadette Mayer

More standard ones:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wasteland as Hypertext

This is the version we'll talk about this afternoon:

micropress publication by ncf grad

:::the press gang::: announces distribution of its second chapbook, one might, by karen volkman-- starting T*O*D*A*Y!

*from one might...
One might start here, with the blank specimen,
not thinking too much or wanting to go home.
Entrance is ample, the peak of the blank,
a kind of acme in the ether.

*letterpressed on vellum,
*silkscreen line images,
*accordion bound, hard-cover.

karen volkman's books of poetry are crash's law (norton, 1996) and spar (univ of iowa press, 2002), which received the iowa poetry prize and the james laughlin award from the academy of american poets. her book of sonnets, nomina, is forthcoming from boa editions in spring 2008. her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including the best american poetry, the pushcart prize anthology, american poets in the 21st century: the new poetics, and the gertrude stein awards in innovative poetry. she teaches in the mfa program at the university of montana in missoula. might is available @ twelve dollars from :::the press gang::: via paypal at our *new* website- (click 'purchase' from the main page) -or at your local bookstore!

:::the press gang::: is a small press based out of tuscaloosa (AL) and brooklyn (NY) by and publishing younger avant writers.

:::press gang::: titles are co-published by sara wintz and cristiana baik.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


New writers coming to class Tuesday will lead us to adjust the course description, baseline reading, means of discussion... as we reconvene as a "master class" workshop with genre blur. We're going to maintain our application of search, research, translation, adaptation, version, poesis (making) to writing. As I mentioned last workshop, tho, our definition of "poetics" will be broad, our focus on great writing as we find it, preparing folks for professional and academic programs, continual...

The organizing principle of this writing workshop is original writing’s relationship to source. In this age of remix, sample, cover, and mashup, we will consider praxis. In this era of translation and mistranslation, adaptation and remake, we will discover poesis. As we read our own new creative work, we will ask how process and procedure affect meaning, discuss ways to begin defining a writing practice, and seek means to achieving art.

Friday, February 8, 2008


There is a list, run by Alison Joseph, a professor of creative writing at SIU - Carbondale, called CRWOPPS. One flaw is that it includes a great many opportunities which are contests with entry fees -- I don't advise entering them. However, here are two fee-free recent posts. It is a yahoo group, so can be joined there.

Prairie Margins, the national undergraduate literary journal of Bowling
Green State University, is accepting submissions for its 2008 issue.
Work by undergraduate students from any accredited institution is
eligible for consideration. Work that is not by a current student will
not be considered.

Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art submissions may be e-
mailed to the editors by Monday, February 11.
Prose submissions shouldbe addressed to krogers(at), and poetry and
art submissions should
be addressed to rswenar(at) (replace (at) with @)

Prairie Margins welcomes all styles, from experimental to traditional,
and seeks to present a rich melange of excellent contemporary work by
college students. The journal attempts to show what is happening in
collegiate writing at this point in time, while also showcasing a high
level of craft.

With questions, or for information on obtaining the latest copy of
Prairie Margins, please feel free to contact one of our editors, Anjuli
Lochan (alochan(at) or Jessica Lewis (lewisj(at) (replace
(at) with @).


We are pleased and excited to announce the first annual Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, for writers under the age of thirty. Alice Hoffman will be the final judge. Submissions will be accepted February 1st-February 15th, with the winner announced in late spring. Submissions must be 1200 words or less. There is no entry fee. (go to this address to enter story)

The Kenyon Review will publish the winning short story, and the author will be awarded a scholarship to attend the 2008 Writers Workshop, June 14th to the 21st, in beautiful Gambier, Ohio.


Writers must 30 years of age or younger at the time of submission.

Stories must be no more 1200 words in length.

Please do not simultaneously submit your contest entry to another magazine or contest.

The submissions link will be active February 1st to February 15th. All work must be submitted through our electronic system. We cannot accept paper submissions. Go to for story entry

Winners will be announced in the late spring. You will receive an e-mail notifying you of any decisions regarding your work.

The final judge will be Alice Hoffman, acclaimed author of The Skylight Confessions.





Eligibility: Only undergraduates enrolled full-time in American and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2007-2008 are eligible for the prize. This Prize has always encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but we want to make it clear that we encourage students of all races and backgrounds to enter.

Submissions of no more than 7500 words should be typed on paper 8? by 11 and be accompanied by proof of the participant's current undergraduate enrollment and a permanent address, phone number and email address. No electronic submissions accepted. No other entry form is required. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Evidence of current enrollment: a xeroxed copy of a grade transcript, a class schedule or receipt of payment of tuition showing your full-time status for either fall '07 or spring '08 semesters will do. The name of the institution and its address must be clear. Please indicate the name of the department of your major field of study.

The 2008 winner will receive $1,000.

Inquiries may be directed to: jjwest(at) (replace (at) with @)

Submission to this Prize assumes the right of Stony Brook to publish the winning story on its Web site. Stony Brook reserves the right not to award the Prize.

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by

March 1, 2008.

The winner and runners-up will be contacted in June 2008, at which time the contest results will be posted and the winning story published on the Fiction Prize Web site:

Submissions should be sent to:






STONY BROOK, NY 11794-5350

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What is praxis? How does critique relate to creativity? Is writing an art? What is a workshop?

Week One
Resources and Reading
Is the writer a reader? Of what? Of what in addition to one’s own writing? Of what in addition to “influences”? Is the workshop a first reader? Where does the idea of “audience” fit in to a written work?

Week Two
The Waste Land, by T.S.Eliot. Footnotes, poems. Allusions, poems.

Week Three
Research and Readings
How could a poem be a reading of a theory, another text, another author?
Why and how could a creative work require information and interpretation?

Week Four
Appropriation and Finding
Found Poetry. Shakespeare, Rezinkoff, Acker.
At the Acedemy of American Poets:

Week Six
Genre and Adaptation
In Granger’s:
Genre: The form of a poem in particular relation to its content. The term encompasses not only pastoral and lyric, which are conventional genres, but also apostrophe, dramatic monologue, nocturne, and so on.

Week Five
Version and Format
Revision is different from version. Lessons from software version control. The police in different voices. Format – utterly different from form. Presentation of content.

Week Seven
Medium / Message
Writing Intermedia and multimedia poetry. Beyond form. Diverse influences (of technology, visual art, music) and ways they mean.
Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects

Week Eight
Context / Situation
Situationist International Text Library

Week Nine
Translation I: Language to Language
Anne Carson, Jen Hofer
Various Sapphos
Week Ten

Translation II: English to English
Zukofsky’s Catullus. Pound’s Sextus Propertius.
Parallel Rewriting
Homolinguistic Translation

Week Eleven
Translation III: Poetry to Prose, Prose to Poetry
The special cases of Russian Poetry. Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

Week Twelve
Flarf, Google Sculpting, Various Software Machines

Week Thirteen
Ars Poetica and Back
critique, self understanding, polemic
Charles Olson, “Projective Verse”
Frank O’Hara, “Personism”

Week Fourteen
on Method and Process

Week Fifteen
Introduction to Final Projects

Week Sixteen
Submission of Final Projects

Course Description

The organizing principle of this writing workshop is original writing’s relationship to source. In this age of remix, sample, cover, and mashup, we will consider praxis. In this era of translation and mistranslation, adaptation and remake, we will discover poesis. In this workshop atmosphere, we will conquer theory. As we read our own new creative work, we will ask how process and procedure affect meaning, discuss ways to begin defining a writing practice, and seek means to achieving art.