Class Update and AML Conference Thoughts

Class Update

My creative writing class continues to be very fun. Two weeks ago studentĀ  s were to write sonnets that played with the conventions of the form in some way: one student chose to write one “backwards-sonnet” with the rhymes at the beginning of lines opposite a traditional sonnet: each giving a different side of what a girl sees when she looks in a mirror. Another chose to bend the conventions by writing extremely conversational/casual iambic pantameter. Her poem started with the line: “You know, this sweatshirt–no, the one with stripes.” It was cool to see her work with the language and layer in each of the five senses in succession as the speaker addresses her beloved–about how different things remind her of a previous, now-absent beloved. Fun work.

I think using the four areas of inquiry (rules, shape, insight, and audience) has helped workshop by letting it be descriptive before it turns prescriptive. Honestly, I think it’s most helpful for writers simply to hear the different ways in which class members are reading their work first before we turn to any suggestions.

AML Conference Thoughts

Last month, Margaret Young announced that the theme for the 2012 AML conference would be “Going Forth Into All the World: Mormon Literature in an International Church.” I’m definitely excited: most of the people who can make the AML conference live in the Intermountain West, so it’s nice that the theme will push participants to look past the Rocky Mountains.

I think it’s worth noting, though, that in this age of Diaspora, it’s hard to tell where “international” is going to come from. I grew up in Columbus, OH: a brother in my old ward named Sylvester Lamin wrote a book called The Coconut Bond which is set in Sierra Leone, where Br. Lamin grew up. I also think about award-winning author Enrico Santiago Stone–who lives in Utah.

So: when we look for International Mormon letters, let’s not overlook the USA. ;)


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One Response to Class Update and AML Conference Thoughts

  1. C. M. Malm says:

    I’m glad (and impressed!) that this approach is working out so well for your creative writing class, James. I was one of the naysayers when you first talked about this. I’m pleased to have been proven wrong. :~)

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