Public Event Schedule
Ransom Fellowship Hall
James Longenbach: The Construction of Voice
Let’s say you want to write a sentence that by its fourth or fifth syllable makes its readers feel instantly engaged with an interlocutor, as if the sentence were not written but spoken. We often refer to the “voice” or the “speaker” of any piece of writing, but of course these are metaphors: if we feel strongly the illusion of a speaking voice it is because diction, rhythm, and syntax have been manipulated strategically to create that illusion. This lecture will examine the precise ways in which the illusion of spokenness is constructed almost instantly and then sustained over time in John Donne’s “The Canonization” and D. H. Lawrence’s “Pomegranate”; moving away from these primary examples, the lecture will also look at sentences by Robert Browning, Marianne Moore, T. S. Eliot, Louise Gluck, John Ashbery, and Frank Bidart; in addition, it will examine prose passages by D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce.
Ransom Fellowship Hall
Charles Baxter: The Poet’s Story and the Dramatic Image
In trying to think about how dramatic images can carry the weight of a story’s emotions, particularly the most intense ones, I find myself going beyond what T. S. Eliot called “the objective correlative” and into the realm of the image that can stop time altogether for the sake of an almost mythic intensity. Such images can bear the weight of a powerful emotion more steadily than discursive language can. These are images that do not easily give up their meanings but somehow seem “right” within a narrative. I will probably use Janet Kauffman’s story “The Easter We Lived in Detroit” and Wright Morris’s story “A Fight Between a White Boy and a Black Boy in the Dusk of a Fall Afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska,” but students interested in this problem may want to hunt up Elizabeth Bishop’s stories and Timothy Findley’s novel The Wars. Other good examples of what I’m getting at are Sherwood Anderson’s “The Corn Planting,” Yasunari Kawabata’s story “The Sparrow’s Matchmaking” and, for poets, Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Eros Tyrannos.”
Then join us at 8:15pm in Ransom Fellowship Hall for a reading featuring faculty members:
For more information, including a full schedule of public events, please visit the program website at http://wwcmfa.org/.