This Week in Words – Jun 23

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Happy Saturday, everybody! I don’t have any news today, so instead I want to bring to your attention a very cool online class being offered by The Loft Literary Center out of Minneapolis. It’s entitled “In a Flash: Short-Shorts, Micro Memoir, and Prose Poetry,” and as I’m sure you can guess, offers instruction in writing pieces fewer than 1,000 words. Instruction is through reading published work and writing and sharing your own work with others. The class is taught by Chapel Hill, North Carolina resident Rochelle Hurt, whose poetry and fiction works have been published in a variety of journals, including Kenyon Review, Hunger Mountain, and The Southeast Review. The class lasts six weeks beginning October 1, is open to writers of all levels, and costs $255. (P.S. The Loft offers a myriad of online classes, most of which are open to all levels, from beginning writing to lessons for writing books.)

“Be Well, Do Good Work, Keep in Touch”
The Writer’s Almanac is by no means new, but I only learned about it this week so here we are. It’s a free podcast brought to you by Public Radio, the Poetry Foundation and, as always, users (listeners?) like you. The daily podcast offers literary news in a “This Day in History” fashion, and ends with a different poem each day. For example, today is Dan Brown’s birthday and on this day in 1633, the Vatican ruled that Galileo was guilty of heresy (I’m not sure how that last bit is literary, but it is interesting, nonetheless), and the poem is “A Pasture Poem” by Richard Wilbur. The content is available online, and archives date back to 1993, in case you want to catch up. Also, the podcast is narrated by the one-and-only Garrison Keillor (of A Prairie Home Companion fame), and frankly, that man could read anything and make it sound intriguing and intellectual.

Lit Mags that Aren’t Us
The Paris Review are a quirky bunch. First of all, we have a blog post featuring “Drunk Texts from Famous Authors.” It’s a collection of sketches (sadly, not real texts) illustrating cell phones with text messages from authors like Gertrude Stein, Emily Dickinson, John Cheever and Dan Brown (two Dan Brown references!). The texts are hilarious and it makes me hope as I’ve scarcely dared to hope before that this is really what texts from these authors would look like.

Second, we have a questionnaire about the use of symbolism created in 1964 by Bruce McAllister, currently an English professor, when he was 16 years old. McAllister typed up a set of questions and sent them to 150 well-known authors. Those among the 75 respondents include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, and Ayn Rand. Some of the authors try to answer the questions honestly and seriously (Bradbury), others seem to take offense (Kerouac), and at least one (MacKinlay Kantor) reprimanded McAllister, saying “Nonsense, young man, write your own research paper.” You can see the original pages at the link above, or read a slightly more user-friendly version here.