Category Archives: writing

On Gwendolyn Brooks

August 20, 2017

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“In the world of poetry, Gwendolyn Brooks is recognized as pioneer, teacher, benefactor, and hierophant and lauded for her intellectual prowess, her social consciousness, and her spiritual wealth. She knows the depth of the words of Langston Hughes, when he states, “We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.” This quote from “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” printed in 1926, points to the resiliency and tenacity of Brooks who echoes, in her own words, “Do not be afraid of no.”

-from “On Gwendolyn Brooks: Reliant Contemplation,” edited by Stephen Caldwell Wright

The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

June 25, 2017

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“Writers are craftsmen, and as such all of our apprentice work is rough, inelegant, flawed. In fact, much of the time it isn’t even functional. Sometimes we can’t even begin discussing character or story, let alone structuralist notions that language creates the writer rather than the other way around, because actions described in the text defy the laws of physics. We enter the program possessing the skills of fledgling carpenters-if we’re lucky-yet hoping to build palaces. It’s this gap between ambition and mastery that the Workshop addresses and, of possible, tries to bridge, and it does so by concentrating on ‘the words on the page.'”

-from ‘The Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop,’ edited by Tom Grimes