Tag Archives: creative writing

Close Literary Reading 101: Some Terms and Ideas for Thinking about Characters

I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading

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What’s Literature Good For?

Sometimes people ask, “What’s the value of literature—of reading poems, stories, and plays? In other words, why might one go to literature for sustenance or reflection, as opposed to something else?” One of the reasons a person might “go to literature” is akin … Continue reading

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We Can Fly, We Can Fly, We Can Fly!

At least in our dreams. At Slate today, Mason Currey recounts a “lucid dream” (a dream in which you are conscious of dreaming, and act on that consciousness) that he had: I’m walking up a path into the lobby of an … Continue reading

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Quote of the Day II

Alan Jacobs, of The New Atlantis , puts in a good word for writing well, and writing teachers: Again and again in my career I have seen that people who can write well — in almost any field — give … Continue reading

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Jurist?

Dramatist Bryony Lavery has a new play running in London this month. New Stateman interviewed her, and asked her about her creative process: Lavery’s latest play, staged at the Young Vic, is based on the horrific sinking of the Russian … Continue reading

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“The Creative Writer”: A Poem by Santi Tafarella

  Outside your garret, voices. And you might use them. But you prefer the inner mausoleum of desk drawers and the burial shawls of clean white paper. It’s a cover, you   say, for you really are the bee which through the … Continue reading

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Existential Absurdity in Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” (1897)

Is the universe a chaos or a cosmos? Today’s quote comes from Stephen Crane’s short story, “The Open Boat” (1897). Stranded in a small life boat and caught in huge ocean swells—yet tantalizingly close to shore—four men contemplate their absurd … Continue reading

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Quote of the Day

James Baldwin, in his short story, “Sonny’s Blues” (1957): [W]hile the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to … Continue reading

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Certainty, Disorientation, and Imagination

One reason that I am an agnostic is that I think that both atheists and theists can sometimes be too dismissive of DISORIENTATION as a means of accessing the IMAGINATION. If we know too much of the end of a story, … Continue reading

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Without a Doubt?: Honore de Balzac’s “A Passion in the Desert” and The Value of Close Reading

In Honore de Balzac’s short story, “A Passion in the Desert” (1830), is a vivid—and unsettling—description of an old, one-legged Napoleonic soldier: “He was without a doubt one of those troopers who are surprised at nothing, who find matter for laughter in … Continue reading

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Corot Painting (1867)—And a Bit of Fanciful Writing to Accompany It

The river, undisturbed by human voice or body, and untouched by empty boat or bird, quietly, and ever so slightly, tugged at the cold sheet of the sky, and all that reflected upon it, as if the river wanted to pull heaven and earth itself on a … Continue reading

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“Lot’s Wife” (A Poem by Santi Tafarella)

  I am the salty sea your once   amphibious daughters   called home,   and all my vital organs are here,   in Sodom.   Mother, memories, my heart.   They are packed in this place,   like loaves … Continue reading

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