Syllabus Share

(Thank you HTML Giant, for many wonderful years, for impacting my life in magical ways, for being my friend. xoxo)

This is something I’m teaching right now:

 

ENGL 534: FORM & TECHNIQUE IN FICTION

PUNCTUATION!

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In this class that focuses on punctuation—take a deep breath now—you will be writing a novel. A complete first draft of a novel: in this class. Yay!

 

COURSE GOALS

Through this class, you should expect to achieve the following goals:

  1. Develop a complex and sophisticated use of punctuation;
  2. Read Ulysses;
  3. Write a novella[1]

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

Gabler edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses

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On Being Weird and Fashion

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I remember it very clearly. It was Chinese New Year, this year: to celebrate, I wore red pants and a black and white polka dotted shirt and a red and brown cardigan. I looked down at myself and thought: Who let me out of the house like this? Luckily, I had not left my house. I was pacing in my backyard, smoking a cigarette, making circles and circles. I looked down at myself and had an epiphany: I’m fucking weird.

This is funny because for most of my life, I’ve tried to be weird, and then one day, I just became weird.

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I’m panhandling bad advice on other social media sites today. Do you want my bad advice? It will be free of charge, but only for today.

On the Limits of Empathy, or, the Universality of Grief

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My sister died a year ago today. I would like to believe my grief is original, but it isn’t.

In “Plants and the Limits of Empathy,” Michael Marder argues that it is impossible for people to genuinely empathize with plants because we are too different. Any semblance of empathy is pure anthropomorphization.

To those who have not lost, they cannot empathize.

Make me human, darling, anthropomorphize me.

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When procrastinating, what do you do? I need pointers.

CGS’s “Drone Poetics,” or, my desire to be unobtrusive

Up at the Boston Review blog, Carmen Gimenez Smith gives real talk about being a poet-academic and the inherent privilege of it:

I often struggle with how I might best use the privilege I possess as a middle-class poet. I’m afforded the platforms of professor and writer, platforms I don’t really utilize to effect change in the world. This might be due to a cultural indoctrination suggesting that poetry is a marginal practice, yet poets such as Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Gary Snyder, Brenda Hillman, and, more recently, Mark Nowak, Shane McCrae, Jena Osman, and Craig Santos Perez have utilized their privilege and platform to uncover, expose, and counter accepted narratives about living in a declining empire in which our agency as citizens is shrinking. While the government watches us, more and more poets and writers are watching back, documenting the injustices that stain our present moment. We need more of that. I should be doing that.

I’m currently editing this massive anthology with Joshua Marie Wilkinson called The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on the Avant-Garde and Accessibility (heading to an Internet purchasing place near you in 2015 from Nightboat Books). In it, we have roughly 100 original essays discussing the role of accessibility in writing as well as Badiou’s questioning of Empire and recognition. Putting together these essays, especially in light of Carmen’s BR post, I keep returning to a word: responsibility. What responsibility do we have as writers? Do we have a responsibility? To whom? Should we even care about accountability? And accountable to whom? We have this great power: the ability to tell stories. What do we do with it? Do we just recycle the same and call it new?

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