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“It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes.”  Gustave Flaubert

This workshop is based on Gustave Flaubert’s sense that a writer can imagine anything. It is often in the confluence of contradiction, found in metaphor and simile, where the most profound human experiences can be found. Fiction writers who also write poetry, as well as poets who write fiction, are particularly welcome, as the course engages strongly with poetry as a necessary complement to narrative forms.

Participants will workshop poems but will also do in-class exercises as the creation of new work is part of this class.  The writers will also delve into more mysterious areas of writing, which include the exploration of metaphor and simile, the senses and synaesthesia, dialogue, etymology, and music. In class the students will read each other’s work and respond, discuss assigned reading from sections of plays, poems, novels and short stories by writers such as James Joyce, Zora Neale Hurston and the poets Fernando Pessoa and Nazim Hikmet, among others. 

To add to the ideas of contradiction and imagination, we will analyze literature, through experimental language and multiple voices, as a “fragmentary-whole.” T.S. Eliot writes, “The ordinary man’s experience is always chaotic, irregular, fragmentary.  [He] falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking…”

Poetry - Under The Volcano