Mix Tape: Carver Wasn’t Always Carver

Maggie Smith
February 9, 2012
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In this insightful response to Anis Shivani’s “Can Creative Writing Be Taught? Therapy for the Disaffected Masses,” Karen Babine notes: “the main issue that Shivani overlooks—whether intentional or not, in his purpose to incite as much reaction as possible in his readers—is the difference between creative writing and literature: literature is artifact. As my fiction students identified last week, artifact brings to mind archaeology, digging, brushing away, interpreting this long-dead item for what it can tell us. Creative writing, on the other hand, considers a text as a living, breathing thing, something that puts my students in a chair next to Raymond Carver, because “Cathedral” did not spring, fully-formed, from the mind of Carver. He was once a beginning writer too. He wasn’t always Raymond Carver.”

And in this response, creative writing professors Dianne Donnelly, Anna Leahy, Tom C. Hunley, Tim Mayers, Dinty W. Moore, and Stephanie Vanderslice answer more important questions, including “What’s the role of therapy in creative writing?” and “How do writers in creative writing programs interact and learn?”

Adjuncts, repeat after me: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Over at NPR, All Things Considered is going to invite “a poet to spend time in the newsroom—and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day’s news.” Tracy K. Smith was up first. Read her poem here.

Check out writing tips from the likes of Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and George Orwell.

A brief history of (hyperbolic, formulaic, and sometimes downright misleading) blurbs. Get ready to learn the difference between a blover and a blap.

Oxford professor of poetry Geoffrey Hill, in a lecture at Oxford, slams Carol Ann Duffy and her work…“with all due respect,” of course.

Let’s play Bad Review Bingo—with squares including “Your plot summary contains a minor mistake; therefore everything else you say is wrong,” and “You’re a frustrated academic, not a real reader.”

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