Author Archives: sdgibson

2250 Donald Barthelme’s “Not-knowing”

How much do you need to plan a short story before you begin writing it? Consider Donald Barthelme’s essay “Not-knowing.”

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2250 Margot Livesey’s “How to Tell a True Story”

We’ve been talking about autobiography and fiction in class. Charles Baxter and Peter Turchi’s Bringing the Devil to His Knees includes Margot Livesey’s essay, which is closely related to our conversation.

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Starting fiction

From David Starkey’s excellent Creative Writing, these are some strategies for starting a story.

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2250 Figurative language and extended metaphors

First, from David Starkey’s Creative Writing, I.A. Richards coined the terms tenor for the subject to which a metaphor is applied and vehicle for the metaphoric term itself. If we say, to borrow an example from Aristotle’s Rhetoric, that a warrior was … Continue reading

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2250 Formal poems

Here are suggestions on starting and examples of villanelles, prose poems, ghazals, pantoums, and the sestina.

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2250 Toward iambic pentameter

From Patrick Gillespie’s “PoemShape” site, consider how he moves from a prose paragraph and works it into iambic pentameter lines. Gillespie’s lines are in italics; Plutarch’s aren’t. Here are the prose paragraphs he starts with: Therefore when she was sent unto … Continue reading

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2250 The Line

In a small group, answer these questions. Email me the result. One email per group, with a list of group members. Which meter is “the norm,” according to Oliver? What might other line length convey to readers? Do stanzas need … Continue reading

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