Category Archives: Creativity

Lucy and Christopher have
set up the following new blog:

looking for creative work
for the inaugural upload!

– poetry
– fiction (of varying length)
– non-fiction
– sound pieces
– illustration
– photography

Follow the links for more information…




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Filed under Creativity, First Year, General news, Second Year, Third Year

95 Cent Skool

The 95 Cent Skool is a 6 day long experimental seminar that will be offered in Oakland, California, July 26-31, 2010. It is convened by Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr. It will explore the possibilities of poetry writing as part of a larger social practice, at a distance from the economic and professional expectations of institutions. We believe a dozen people sitting around a table can’t ruin poetry, but that costs, professional context, mythologies of individual genius, and client/service-based models can — and in our own experiences teaching in pay-to-play writing programs, often do.

Our concerns in these six days begin with the assumption that poetry has a role to play in the larger political and intellectual sphere of contemporary culture, and that any poetry which subtracts itself from such engagements is no longer of interest. “Social poetics” is not a settled category, and does not necessarily refer to poetry espousing a social vision. It simply assumes that the basis of poetry is not personal expression or the truth of any given individual, but shared social struggle.

The 6 days will feature:
• Morning discussion groups lead by Juliana and Joshua
• Two guest speakers: one on the political economy and one on ecology
• Afternoon group and/or collaborative writing sessions
• Dinners and drinks at a nearby bar

The 6 days will not feature:
• Workshops led by a “master poet”
• Agents or editors who will advise your work into publication
• A Richard Wilbur Celebration Night
• Instruction in reciting poetry to bring out the emotional content of the poem

The final program will be available later in the Spring.

Each participant will be asked to contribute up to 1% of annual gross income as their 95 cents exclusively towards operating expenses. The workshop leaders and as many other organizers as possible will donate their time. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Email us if you’ve got questions about how much you can pay. We will also help in finding free housing for any participants in need.

The program is open to any interested participant with any level of prior engagement with poetry. This program is not affiliated with any institution of higher education and no transferrable institutional credit will be offered. There is no application fee, but space is limited. Please send a note indicating interest and experience to

Please feel encouraged to re/post this listing to your blog or otherwise redistribute. If you would like to receive further information about the 95 Cent Skool, please email the address above, or join the 95 Cent Skool facebook group:
The 95 Cent Skool will happen with the support of Small Press Traffic and ‘A ‘A Arts.

Thank you very much,

the 95¢ Skoolers —

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Poetic Practice Reading Group: this Monday in Egham…

Poetic Practice Reading Group
6.15 – 7.30 pm
International Building, Egham
Room IN045

Monday 1st February 2010

Sophie Robinson

‘writing nonlocation location’ : creating queer space in poetic

I’m going to begin by talking about Bruce Boone’s essay ‘Gay Language
as Political Praxis: The Poetry of Frank O’Hara’. I want to examine
Boone’s reading of O’Hara – particularly concepts of ‘competing
language-cultural codes’, marginalised communities, proximity and
low/derided culture – and discuss the function of ‘gay language’ in
poetic practice.

I want to use these concepts as a starting point for thinking about
contemporary uses of ‘queer language’ by looking at a recent issue of
EOAGH dedicated to the subject. I will be looking closely at kari
edwards’ editorial statement, and the poetry of Abigail Child and Amy
King included in the issue.

I then want to present some of my own recent work, and discuss my
practice in relation to the ideas raised. I particularly want to focus
on forms of queer space (proximity, disorientation, liminality,
occupation, subculture) which both influence and are produced by queer
texts, and will be contextualising this by referring to extracts from
Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology.

The Bruce Boone essay is here:

And the EOAGH Queering Language issue is here:

Extracts from Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology are here:

Biography: Sophie Robinson has an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal
Holloway. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD on queer
time and space in experimental poetic practice. Her poetry has
appeared in the anthologies The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality
Street, 2008) and Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century
(Bloodaxe, 2009). Her first book, a, was published by Les Figues press
in 2009, and she has a chapbook forthcoming from Oystercatcher in
Spring 2010. She currently lives and works in London.

All Welcome

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Filed under creative industries, Creativity, General news, General reading, Third Year

New Website by Recent MA in Poetic Practice Graduates….

Here it is!

We have finally put press free press activities onto a website.

It would be great if you could have a look and let people know!

We will be updating regularly. Feedback welcome!


press free press

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Filed under creative industries, Creativity, General news, General reading

The Human Genre Project

Interesting new project from esteemed Scots SF writer Ken MacLeod: The Human Genre Project. Ken is actively seeking contributions:

We welcome new contributions of short works inspired by genes and genomics. Ideally your contribution would be related to a specific gene, but if not, don’t worry.

Your contribution will, unless you ask otherwise, be shown with a link to your own website or blog, so this is a good way to spread the word.

Pieces may later be displayed in a variety of formats and media, besides this website: an exhibition, a book or booklet, a set of postcards, etc.

The only right we’re asking is for is the right to reproduce the work for the life of the project and in any medium (online, print, public exhibition, interactive display etc) — but only as part of this project. All work will be fully attributed. You are, of course, free to publish your work anywhere else and in any way you like.

I’ve got two things up on the site: a 1200-word short story called ‘The Chrome Chromosome’ and a 10-line poem called ‘Chromosome Poem’ (you see what I did there? With the titles?). You’ll find them under chromosome 13.

You know what? You should definitely think about submitting something. [AR]

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How writers organise their days

There’s an interesting new blog called Daily Routines that sets out just how writers (living and dead, plus other artists and ‘interesting people’) go about the business of organising their working days. Here’s Kafka‘s punishing routine:

Promoted to the position of chief clerk at the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute, [Kafka] was now on the one-shift system, 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM. And then what? Lunch until 3:30, then sleep until 7:30, then exercises, then a family dinner. After which he started work around 11 PM (letter- and diary-writing took up at least an hour a day, and more usually two), and then “depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, until one, two, or three o’clock, once even till six in the morning.” Then “every imaginable effort to go to sleep,” as he fitfully rested before leaving to go to the office once more. This routine left him permanently on the verge of collapse

Makes me tired just to read it. Toni Morrison got into the habit of starting writing before dawn when she had small children, and has stuck with it. It helped her net a Nobel prize, after all, so there may be something in it. She has some specific advice for creative writing students.

I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves, What does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?

And here’s John Updike answering questions about his writing routine, and confessing his inability to get off the horse:

You’ve said that it was fairly easy to write the Rabbit books. Do you write methodically? Do you have a schedule that you stick to?

Since I’ve gone to some trouble not to teach, and not to have any other employment, I have no reason not to go to my desk after breakfast and work there until lunch. So I work three or four hours in the morning, and it’s not all covering blank paper with beautiful phrases. You begin by answering a letter or two. There’s a lot of junk in your life. There’s a letter. And most people have junk in their lives but I try to give about three hours to the project at hand and to move it along. There’s a danger if you don’t move it along steadily that you’re going to forget what it’s about, so you must keep in touch with it I figure. So once embarked, yes, I do try to stick to a schedule. I’ve been maintaining this schedule off and on — well, really since I moved up to Ipswich in ’57. It’s a long time to be doing one thing. I don’t know how to retire. I don’t know how to get off the horse, though. I still like to do it. I still love books coming out. I love the smell of glue and the shiny look of the jacket and the type, and to see your own scribbles turned into more or less impeccable type. It’s still a great thrill for me, so I will probably persevere a little longer, but I do think maybe the time has come for me to be a little less compulsive, and maybe the book-a-year technique which has been basically the way I’ve operated.

We’ve spoken to a number of writers who said they wrote a certain number of pages every day. There’s a lot to be said for having a routine you can’t run away from.

Right. It saves you from giving up.

Wise words there: don’t give up. [AR]


Filed under creative industries, Creativity

Two CW2020 Stories

The two stories below are from today’s class: each seminar member wrote one sentence, one after the other, and the final result got a quick and minimal polish.  One of these stories is considerably better than the other, I think; although I leave it to you to decide which is which. The first story is 180 words long, and is called ‘The Terrible Magic Spider’. 

His name was Adam; he had been blind since the age of twelve. He was spending the evening of his twentieth birthday in the bath. He felt something crawling down his arm. A spider—it bit him and paralysed him and he was stuck in the bath. And then the doorbell rang. But all he could do was smell his lavender-scented candles. The water around him was cooling rapidly, but he couldn’t move to take the plug out. The doorbell rang again. He attempted to scream, but the poison had spread to his larynx. In a last effort to escape from the bath he concentrated all his power in moving his toe. He was shrinking. Suddenly eight legs unsheathed from his sides. He could see with eight eyes. He spun a web from his thorax. Clicking his fangs together he eyed-up a fly. The numbing paralysis was replaced by a new sense of agility. His mother knocked on the bathroom door. Thinking he was an average spider, she bunged him down the plughole and he tumbled to a merciless death.

The second story is 250-words long and is called ‘Bath.’

He had been blind since the age of twelve, and now he was spending the evening of his twentieth birthday in the bath. Steam inhabited the room. He breathed it in, cloying moist air. His legs were out of the water, and he was resting his feet on the shoulders of the bath. He had been able to lie flat in the bath a long time ago, when he’d still been able to see the bubbles. Now he could only feel the bubbles fizzing gently on his skin. It had been a hard day; slowly he slid down until he was fully submerged and a stream of air escaped his lips. Drips and drops fell from the tap, like it had something to cry about. The water was warm. He could still hear the radio in the kitchen, its music muffled. Elvis Presley’s voice smeared and clumped.
There was a knock on the bathroom door.
I’ll move in a moment, he thought. I’ll get out in a moment.
It was all very tiresome. His mother was cooking his favorite meal, but he wanted nothing more than to sit in his room and listen to an audiobook. He hated the kitchen. A pan shuddering on the hob with its freight of boiling water. He resurfaced, sat upright. His mother was knocking on the door again. He could no longer smell the lavender. The scented candles must have gone out. He must be sitting in darkness.


Filed under Creativity, Second Year