Monday, August 15, 2016


THE HELL WITH DRAWERS by Will Oldham: "The difference between lyrics and poetry is that I don’t understand poetry. I don’t understand biology either. Someone must be there to guide me through the meanings of things. Lyrics, recorded and sung, have the opportunity to sink long and thoroughly; they can work on and with the subconscious. We have long ago passed the time when poetry is memorized without such aid, and sitting there on the paper a poem makes me feel ignorant and insane." Click HERE to read the rest of Will Oldhams's "The Hell with Drawers." 

Click HERE listen to "I See A Darkness by Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy)


Read the verses below. What's the tone? How does it make you feel? Then listen to it HERE (click orange arrow). Is the tone different? Is your emotional response stronger? Does Sting emphasize any part more than others? How does that effect the song's interpretation?

"Fields Of Gold"
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in the fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold
I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in the fields of gold
We'll walk in the fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold
When we walked in the fields of gold


 Worried that a lot of your previous comments weren't posted in a timely fashion? Think you might need a little "Blog Post Extra Credit"? Post a reaction (minimum 250 words) to the viewing linked below and score a few extra points!

Junot Diaz Geeks out Over Comics: "In addition to being a Pulitzer-winning, chart-topping novelist and short story writer, Junot Díaz is more than a little nerdy. Okay, very nerdy. His work — including his latest story collection, This is How You Lose Her — is filled with references to geek-culture touchstones that blend seamlessly with historical analysis and intimate struggle. And towering above all else, his fiction is filled with references to comic books. But no one had ever interviewed him just about those comics. That’s why filmmaker Abraham Riesman went for a trip to St. Mark’s Comics in Manhattan — a longtime haunt for Díaz — to talk comics. To Riesman’s surprise, Díaz’s comics knowledge was even deeper and broader than he had expected." Click heading to watch video.

"Junot Diaz" by Edwidge Dnaticat: "If Marvel Comics had gotten around to it, Oscar Wao would have been a hero. As it is, Junot Díaz stepped in and made him one first. Oscar is a Dominican nerd (an oxymoron) who “could write in Elvish, could speak Chakobsa, could differentiate between a Slan, a Dorsai, and a Lensman in acute detail.” A young aspiring writer with wet dreams, Oscar steps out of the Dominican diaspora in New Jersey with such a singular vision of romance, such a nonstop hankering for a world where the underdog actually wins, that we fall in love with him. Oscar, spawned by a writer with a profound understanding of the mythical implications of science fiction as well as the history of the Dominican Republic under what Díaz would call a bad-ass dictator named Trujillo (true story), is heir to a fakú. That’s a curse."

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: "Oscar de León was not one of those Dominican cats everybody’s always going on about. He wasn’t no player. Except for one time, he’d never had much luck with women. He’d been seven then." Click heading to read the rest of the excerpt. Note: Excerpt contains language some may find offensive.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Please take some time to complete the following survey:
Thank you! Note: Do NOT post comments below!


Click HERE for a list a the top 50 literary magazines. Click HERE for a list of sites that do not charge reading fees (or sites that charge no more than $3). Read the descriptions, pick one that would suit your writing, then submit an appropriate piece of work. Post your submission receipt (or a link to it) below.

Note: Naturally, if you did your own research and arrived at a journal that is not included in the list linked above, it's perfectly fine to send your work there.

Monday, August 8, 2016


Students MUST post reactions (minimum 250 words) to the assigned viewing/reading(s) linked below. Students should select one of the following groupings. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

Click HERE to read the article,"The Refreshingly Murky, Mysterious, Mist-Shrouded Sailor Twain," by Glen Weldon. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Mark Siegel's graphic novel, Sailor Twain. Click HERE to watch to an interview with Mark Siegel.


Click HERE to read the interview, "The In Between World of the Graphic Novelist," by Francois Mouly and Mina Kaniko. Click HERE to listen to "Growing Up Chinese, Graphically." Click HERE to read an excerpt from Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese. .


Click HERE to read an excerpt from the graphic novel by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang, In Real Life. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Cory Doctorow's "Anda's Game," the story on which the graphic novel was based (read at least the equivalent of a few pages). Click HERE to read an interview with Cory Doctorow.


Tomorrow we'll be visiting with the award-winning author, playwright, screenwriter, performer, comic book writer, and "horror-drunk storytelling virtuoso" (Time Out New York), Clay McLeod Chapman (in the flesh).
Clay is the author of the dark trilogy for young readers, The Tribe (Disney), described as "Fight Club meets The Boxcar Children," as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, "Rest Area." His "I Walked with a Spider" (Marvel) was a top ten bestselling comic book. Clay's six issue zombie series, Self Storage, described as "Storage Wars meets The Walking Dead," was turned into an "augmented reality comic" by director Michael Bay. His film, The Boy (from his novel, Miss Corpus), about a nine year old sociopath, was produced by Elijah Wood's film company, SpectreVision, and stars Rainn Wilson (The Office) and David Morse (World War Z). The New York Times compared The Boy to Lord of the Flies and called it "remarkable," "gorgeous," and "stunning to behold."

Again, Google Clay and come to class prepared to ask him at least one question.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Students must write a five page, two character scene in traditional stage play format (sample linked here) called The Hit, in which two hit men (or women) sit in a room waiting for their "assignment."  At some point during the scene, one of the characters discovers (or is told) that he (or she) is meant to kill the other. This project is rooted in an acclaimed 1957 one act play called The Dumb Waiter by the Nobel Prize winning English playwright, Harold Pinter. The Dumbwaiter has inspired many writers, including Irish playwright and Oscar winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who has admitted that his award-winning 2008 film In Bruges was indebted to Pinter.

Some things to consider: Who are the characters? Two men? Two women? How well do they know one another? Are they friends, lovers, or just co-workers? Are they young or old? A rookie and a veteran? A father and a son? A man and his wife? From the outset, do either or both know what the job is? If not, how are they told about the job (i.e. how do they communicate with those outside the room? Cell phone? Walkie talkie? Notes slipped under the door?) What do they wear? Are they masked? If so, with what? Ski masks? Halloween masks of superheroes? Dead presidents? Mexican wrestling masks? How is the play lit? Flashlights? Naked bulb? No lights? What does the room look like? Is it a normal room or a kill room? Beds? Chairs? Lined with plastic? Newspaper? Or…? Is a gun seen during the show? Does a gun go off during the show? Is another weapon used? What are they talking about as they wait? Are they talking about the job? Are they pointedly avoiding the job. Are they cagey? Outgoing? Do they talk about their lives outside, do they complain about their partners or their kids? Do they discuss or debate pop culture (a la Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction)? Comic books, movies, TV, music? Are there sounds that help us understand where they are? Music?

 Note: Do not post creative response below. Responses are to be brought to class (to be performed) Mon. AUG 8.