“None of the bones here remember what bodies
they belong to. It is a hard thing to realize that each of
the bones once loved as we do, and harder even to say it.”—From ‘Prayer’ by Richard Jackson, via So Much Joy It Hurts
If you follow me on any of my other various channels, you’ll know I’m currently in Philadelphia, checking in with Brave New Voices— an (THE?) annual youth poetry festival. I came over for it last year, when it was in Chicago, and although I’ve been involved in youth poetry and/or youth slam initiatives for a very long time now (15+ years? Nobody’s keeping count, right?) it was inspiring to see. I travelled back to London with a mind full of the desire to push things harder in the UK, to really make a difference… then got back into the grind and didn’t really live up to the revolutionary zeal I’d managed to muster through my travels. Sure, I manage an independent youth poetry community, I’ve inherited a spoken word education programme, I maintain a long-running poetry course at the Barbican, I mentor emerging poets, I still teach on an ad hoc basis, and I have my fingers in many more pies within the sector, but every now and then I have moments like this where I step back and ask what it’s all worth. Whether the work I’m doing is really having the impact I want it to. And: whether I’m doing a good enough job of communicating the vision and getting people on board.
For now, I’m simply celebrating the opportunity I’ve had thus far this week to gain some perspective. Soon enough, I’ll be back in grind mode, trying to maintain the balance between the 40,000 foot view and the attention to minutiae that keeps everything moving forward.
“If poetry students don’t read broadly, why should anyone else? They read only their contemporaries, no interest in the past as present. Every writing program or conference should offer refresher zones—reading without writing for a brief or long while. Fill up the well if you want to be a writer. We live in an age where you can celebrify yourself instantly. You can pimp yourself in poetry or fiction overnight—anybody can publish anything now because of the Internet. With no critical standards and little reading, we aren’t talking about imaginative writing anymore. We’re talking about a cottage industry and the creation of artifacts and trinkets. The solitude of the writing experience—solitude that reads and converses with the great dead—seems an enemy of technology. Though, finally, I don’t believe this is true. There are poets of all ages who are not threatened by technology but do not have to use it as a club—in both senses of the word.”—Paris Review – An Interview with Carol Muske-Dukes, Alex Dueben
“So much of becoming a writer is called finding one’s voice, and it is that; but it seems to me it is also finding something—some tenor, or territory, or mode, or concern—you can never abandon. For some it is a genre like comics. For some, it is a fascination with metaphysics or misfits or marriage. Not that you don’t have other interests; but there must be some hat you would not willingly take off. It is the thing that gives a writer, “b.s. artist” that he or she is, at some level the chutzpah to drop the “b.s.” It is the source of his or her “authenticity”—this sense that however imaginative the work, the writer has a real stake in it, that he or she is driven by some inner necessity.”—“What Comes of All That,” from Tiger Writing, Gish Jen (via John Estes)
“I don’t think I spend a lot more time writing than other writers. But I do think that when I was a young writer with two young kids, I learned that whatever time I could get, even if it was just a few minutes, was valuable. I don’t spend time ramping up and ramping down like a lot of writers I know. I don’t check to see if anything is new on the Internet. I don’t have to spend time sharpening my special magical pencil made from wood taken from the deck of the Titanic. I don’t have to brew my cup of coffee and balance it just right to write. I don’t have to be writing in my precious little handmade notebook that I bought in Bolivia from the Aymara people. I don’t have to be sitting at my desk looking out at the birds in the backyard and wait for the song of the lark for inspiration to strike. Instead, if I have fifteen minutes, I write for a full fifteen minutes. I try to live my life in such a way that when those minutes come I can take advantage of them wherever I am and whatever I have to write with—computer, phone, pen, pencil, etc.—and take advantage of them fully, and I think the idea of being committed to doing that has actually, somehow, made it work.”—The Believer Logger: 5X5: BRIAN EVENSON
““as computers get better at thinking like us and shaping our behavior,” Leon Neyfakh wrote, “they can also be rewired to spring us free.” @YouAreCarrying is proof of that maxim and replaces usefulness with creativity. Just as the Surrealists deployed the “Exquisite Corpse” to spark their imaginations, Vestal sees a similar purpose. “It helps kickstart people’s imagination,” Vestal says. “How do I get to this point where I have an aspirin, a subatomic drive and the Elven sword of antiquity?” There is no answer, but the indiscernibility is part of @YouAreCarrying’s mission. It’s a prompt to ponder and encourages one to solicit others for feedback. “People want to share what they’re carrying,” Vestal says. “It’s like opening up a present on Christmas day.” And what a strange and glorious Christmas that must be.”—
“Race was naive enough to think that dyeing her hair was enough to alter the pigment of her name, the nature of her shadow. She tried lime green to generate more zest, a fiery red to suggest deep-seated passions, even black, for that laid back retro look. But nothing changed. People walked past her on the street, eyes averted, clasping their gaudy shopping bags watchfully. In school she sat in the corners, hoping to blend in with the cracked paint. Her lovers continued to call her by other names when making love. In the dark, and in the throes of ecstasy, they claimed, everyone looked the same. It was easy to be confused, Race was not convinced. She felt different inside, a place where moonlight could not reach. She tried using a microscope, a DNA test, her rose-tinted glasses, but could not figure out why the softly pulsing engine of her being remained invisible to her. Did she not have a name? A history? And did she not buy her own clothes with money she earned the same way as everyone else? Disappointed, Race realised that her should was not the sum of her choices, nor her genes a composite of caresses and strokes leading up to her conception. She envied her friends, the purity of their obliviousness, how they wore their hair casually long and streaked with gold, gleaming against their skin beneath, gleaming agains their skin, beneath which the blood coursed, without question, like a final answer. She wondered if she peeled back their flesh, unhinged the bone, eased apart the knotted sinews, whether she should also find nothingness there: a space worn away in the shape of their own silence; what colour it must be.”—
“Technology has made different kinds of poets out of us. Together we sing ghost songs. We have haunted mouths, and speaking flesh. Together we imagine impossible things that I can write, but not make. Together we make things that I cannot imagine. We barter noisily like grandmothers. Because I am a writer, and trade in poetry, so I tempt technology to do the same.”—Jools Gilson-Ellis
“You want to be in a spot where you can respond to the world. If an idea hits you, then you can do it in some form…you don’t need permission from anyone to do awesome things. All you need is the time and space to work on it.”—Frank Chimero on The Great Discontent (TGD)
“The author suggests that, in this world of limited attention spans, the serious writer may have to parcel out his or her writing into shorter sections or volumes, in order for anything like the eloquent and verbose reading of prior eras to remain. An idea worth considering: could this trend toward short reads give rise to a deeper appreciation of poetry in the future? It’s thought-provoking and often mind-taxing, true—but it’s short. Or at least, some of it is. It would be interesting to see whether poetry makes a comeback in the future.”—
“I am always reading, always, and tons of things at once. I wouldn’t say I’m a voracious reader, though. I never finish books that fast, because I’m always reading so many things at once. I dip in, dip out, dip back in, sometimes never dip back in… I think my brain is full of collisions and that’s how I like to read and process information. I’m always comparing things and I think I do that subconsciously when I’m reading books of poetry.”—
“For years I’ve maintained a personal credo that I’ll give pretty much any person starting out in our field 30 minutes of my time, if they have the wherewithal to come and ask for it. (Don’t all ask at once, now.) Usually that means a phone call or an email exchange. Sometimes I’ll meet for coffee, given my schedule and availability. I certainly don’t feel compelled to help out every person who comes my way looking for advice, and I tailor my response to the query (a thoughtful email gets a better reply than a tweet) but I make a genuine effort to say “yes” to people who are just starting out. A few years ago I described this policy to a colleague. I remember him saying “I would never do that, it doesn’t seem like it would be worth it.” Not everything in our professional lives is a transaction, scrutinized and evaluated against how much it costs us, how much someone should pay. Not every teaching relationship must be formalized—a mentoring opportunity, a coach, an internship. Not every investment of time has to be “worth it.” Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not? You never know what will come of it. I can’t thank the guy who took the time to meet me for coffee. But I can pay it forward by trying to help other people in a small, vanishingly insignificant way. And if some day, I help someone in a way that changes the very course of their life? I might never even know. The payback I would want isn’t one billable hour or a free sandwich or even their grateful thanks. I don’t even care if they remember my name. I’d rather they pick up the phone and talk to some future 23-year-old when she asks.”—
Yes. I value my time in a different way now— it’s a more of a challenge to stay on top of all the demands— but I still do my best to support emerging literature professionals and poets wherever I can, above and beyond any of the formal relationships, roles or initiatives that I’m paid for. I’m least responsive when it comes to Facebook messages; direct email is best, but please forgive if it takes a minute for me to respond.
Also: yes. I’d be happy to hear that the people I’ve had any kind of positive impact on pay that impact forward, that they go on to support others in similar ways. You never know (unless told), but you can hope. And believe. And carry on, regardless.
These days I write more than I code, but one of the things I miss about programming is the coder’s high: those times when, for hours on end, I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that my co-workers and I were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while I was staring at the screen, thinking and typing, until I’d reach the point of exhaustion and it would come crashing down on me.
It was good for me, too. Coding had a smoothing, calming effect on my psyche, what I imagine meditation does to you if you master it. In his study Zen and the Brain, neuroscientist James H. Austin speaks of how one’s attention will shift into “a vacancy of utmost clarity, a space so devoid of the physical self.”
“Ending his talk, Cramer has an important question for the audience: why do publishers tend to stick to the traditional formats of publishing even when they move to e-publishing? He gave the example of poetry books. Traditionally, poetry is published as poetry volumes because it is the only economical way of printing, distributing and selling it. With e-publishing however, it is possible to sell single poems. The same is true for exhibition catalogues. He gave the recent example of Stedelijk Museum, the Dutch contemporary art museum. It would have made no sense to publish its 200-page collection highlights catalogue as one e-book. But e-publishing makes it possible to turn each monographic chapter on an individual artwork into a mini-epub of its own, and to allow readers to choose what they want to explore and read.”—
Yes to innovation and exploring the freedoms (or new limitations?) afforded by new formats. That said, as put forward earlier in the same article: “most publishers are small, have low budgets and could not maintain these standards on a continuous basis as software quickly needs upgrading.”
Two-Minute Personality Test by Jonathan Safran Foer
What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look though your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?
“Art, be it poetry, music, sculpture, puppetry—the whole of it, inspires change on a personal level rather than a global one. This is important because the individual is the whole. The creation of art argues that people are connected, ideas are connected, the past and future are connected by this moment. Meanwhile, exploitation of the poor, drone strikes that kill hundreds of children, slavery, genocide, land theft—these are all acts that depend upon convincing large groups of usually well-meaning people that “they are not us.” Dean Young once said, “The highest accomplishment of the human consciousness is the imagination, and the highest accomplishment of the imagination is empathy.” Poetry, along with every other art, is a tool for teaching and expanding empathy. Violence and injustice cannot endure empathy.”—A NORMAL INTERVIEW WITH JAMAAL MAY | The Normal School: A Literary Magazine
THE:You once said: “For whatever reason, people, including very well-educated people or people otherwise interested in reading, do not read poetry.” Is this still true?
PAUL MULDOON:I believe so. Poetry is still too often perceived as being too difficult for the common man. That’s partly because we expect to be able to read poetry without being educated in it. We don’t have the same expectations of astrophysics, aeronautical engineering, algebra or even making a passable avgolemono.
THE:What advice would you give to your younger self?
PAUL MULDOON:Don’t give up the piano lessons.
THE:What are the best and worst things about your job?
PAUL MULDOON:I have several jobs but, in terms of the teaching, I consider it a privilege to work with students. I can’t bear teachers who complain about their jobs. More often than not, they’ve no idea how lucky they are. I know it’s a truism, but I definitely learn from my students. I sometimes teach translation, for example, and I have been introduced by my students to whole swathes of literature I simply wouldn’t have known about.
“The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life…the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity, and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the general dance.”—
Dear Self: so yeah, today’s a birthday. You’re doing the smart thing, paying down on the sleep debt you’ve accrued for the past week or so (20 hours of shut-eye over six nights? Seriously?), reflecting on the time that’s passed since the last time you were here, thinking on how you might invest the next 365 days. Time to remember all the steps you take towards your better self. Today’s theme is rededication. But don’t spend all afternoon. The sun’s shining, and the skies are blue— invitation to get outside and soak it all in. Or, as Merton says, join the general dance.
“The challenge is to revise and rewrite long after the original excitement over the piece has faded, and to create a finished product that—in spite of all the tinkering—evokes that same sense of excitement and discovery in the reader. To accomplish this magic feat takes determination that borders on the pathological, like some guy in Moose Udder, Maine who builds a fifty-foot Elvis sculpture with empty Red Bull cans.
If you’re holed up in your room, staring at your computer screen, resolutely building an Elvis of your own, I salute you. If you’ve ever gotten so sick of working on a particular project you couldn’t bear to even look at it for a week, or a month or a year, but one day you sighed, cracked your knuckles and hauled yourself off the sofa to start that fourth draft, I salute you.”—
“I would not call poetry’s present marketplace position a “failure,” since no contemporary poet expects to make a living by it. He or she teaches, rather, or has an independent income. While making my living elsewhere, I have never stopped writing and reading poetry, as the exercise of language at its highest pitch.”—
"I think poetry has really rather connived at its own irrelevance and that shouldn’t happen, because it’s the most delightful thing," said Paxman. "It seems to me very often that poets now seem to be talking to other poets and that is not talking to people as a whole."
His words come as official figures show a decline in poetry sales. Five years ago, in 2009, sales of poetry stood at £8.4m. By 2013, they had fallen to £7.8m, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Michael Symmons Roberts, a poet who has both won and judged the Forward prize, said that Paxman’s proclamation was “not without foundation in terms of the symptoms – it would be stupid for poets to say poetry is as dominant as the novel” – but he disagreed with Paxman’s diagnosis.
"Poetry doesn’t have the currency in our culture that novels and films have – people who would be embarrassed not to have read the latest Julian Barnes or Martin Amis are not the slightest bit embarrassed not to have read the latest John Burnside or Carol Ann Duffy. But I don’t believe it’s quite good enough to say this is a problem of poets and poetry – it’s far more complex," said Roberts.
Paxman is also quoted as saying that poetry should “aim to engage with ordinary people much more”. Surely, the notion of whether poetry engages adequately with “ordinary people” depends on the poetry you’re actually considering? Maybe what’s required here is a spotlight on engaging, challenging work that engages with the kind of ordinary people Paxman is referring to? That such work exists is not the question, rather where it can be found, and how it is celebrated/valued, particularly in relation to other works. Which essentially reduces to the question: who determines what “poetry” is, or more accurately, who determines which (of the various different forms of) poetry receives accolades and prestige?
“The written word is weak. Many people prefer life to it. Life gets your blood going, and it smells good. Writing is mere writing, literature is mere. It appeals only to the subtlest senses—the imagination’s vision, and the imagination’s hearing—and the moral sense, and the intellect. This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader’s ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word. An ordinary reader picking up a book can’t yet hear a thing; it will take half an hour to pick up the writing’s modulations, its ups and downs and louds and softs.”—Annie Dillard (via John Estes)
Nature is full of branches because if you want to be close to a lot of space with minimal increase in your own volume, your best bet is a structure that forks and sub-forks. This is how birds make wings: they send out a bone with a little quick tissue and feather roots, and from them grow rachis, and from them grow barbs, and from them grow barbules, and from them grow barbicels, between which the gaps are so small that air doesn’t bother trying to get through, and the bird has made something the shape of an airfoil without having to fill it with heavy meat. Branching is also how plants fill out their space in the air to collect sunlight and CO2, and underground to find solid nutrients. The structures of your nervous, respiratory, and circulatory systems are similarly manifold.
But the principle is deeper than life itself. It’s how rivers work: though we don’t ascribe intent, a river needs to approach every part of its basin in the sense that erosion will make it grow streams and rivulets until it does. It doesn’t even have to be water. Fluid dynamicists use the phrase viscous fingering to describe this kind of structure in their domain.
In fact, apparently in some sense it might be deeper than physics, because – assuming MLC is true – the Mandelbrot, a piece of abstract math, has some desire-less need to connect its infinite brood.
My Poems Avoid Higher Math: A Short Interview with Bob Hicok (via the Merrimack Review)
RC:What role should poetry play in everyday life?
BH:None. Should sounds like eating vegetables. I'm sorry— I sort of criticised your question there. But I don't like should. I'm guessing that your question has to do, in part, with poetry's diminished status in our culture. I certainly wish poetry still didn't seem so strange to people. Which is weird, given that, if people write, they're more likely to write poetry than anything else, in my experience. With that in mind, I think poetry is an every-day thing for many.
“The world of the interrupt and the distraction keep us busy. That of course does not mean we are productive. The basics are common sense but in a seductive trivia-driven world rarely common practise. Re-boot these practices: (1) Be proactive; choose what you are going to do against your true priorities (2) set your priorities against your personal compass of the key areas of your life: career/health/finance/relationships/fun and contribution.”—
“I contribute in a variety of ways (if we must derive value from the idea of contributions): I have a day job and I also write, edit and publish work as a poet. I do not moonlight as a poet. Poetry is a job like many others. In some ways, it is more difficult; it is self-created. I believe that a Poet is not merely one who writes poetry but one whose dedication to poetry fits into their private or public lifestyle, and one who advocates for poetry in a way they believe to be valuable and meaningful.”—
Dear poet: read the linked article immediately. Dear people who aren’t poets: please do the same. It certainly reminds me of a few too many conversations I’ve experienced. “So you’re a poet, eh?” they say with the kind of casual sneer reserved for someone who’s said they’ve just seen a unicorn…
Mr. Steidl, you scheduled this interview at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Do you always work on weekends?
Yes on Saturdays and Sundays. Those are the only days in the week where I can work concentrated on concepts for books, I can do my drawings for book covers and book design. I don’t have to open my mouth, I am silent, I listen to the radio, classical music, and I do just what I want.
Do you ever take time off or is the printing process such a passion for you that you don’t need to?
I am of course not risking my health and my physical power just for printing jobs and without six and a half hours of sleep at night I am of no use the next day, but actually throughout the year I don’t need vacations or days off. I have the privilege that I spend the day doing whatever I want. That keeps you fresher. It is more a question of discipline and something that you have to learn. Since I have been working for 45 years, I have learned to be disciplined.
“Often my subjects are the simplest things in the world: joy, family, the weather, houses, streets. Nothing fancy. And when I sit down with these subjects my aim is clarity. I’m really trying to clear some of the muddle from my own brain — my brain being a very muddled place indeed. Sometimes I think my whole professional life has been based on this hunch I had, early on, that many people feel just as muddled as I do, and might be happy to tag along with me on this search for clarity, for precision. I love that aspect of writing. Nothing makes me happier than to hear a reader say: that’s just what I’ve always felt, but you said it clearly. I feel then that I’ve achieved something useful.”—Zadie Smith— Storytelling Is A Magical, Ruthless Discipline (via TheLi.st
“English Literature A Level concentrates only on literature (the clue is in the title). The English Language and Literature A Level (as the title again suggests,) draws on ideas and methods from literary criticism and the study of language to analyse both literary and non-literary texts, spoken as well as written, and from an infinitely wider sphere of contexts. Digital forms of communication such as Twitter feeds and blogs are increasingly influential in the modern world; parliamentary discourse, of which select committee proceedings are a part, have played a role in our democracy for a good deal longer. Many university English courses already draw on material from a similarly wider variety of sources, and A Level syllabi that introduce students to the analysis of a broad range of communication types (written and spoken; formal and informal; contemporary and canonical) are welcomed by University English.”—Letter to The Sunday Times in support of A Level English Language and Literature via English & Media Centre
“so you have to live the poem with your whole mind and body. This is why performance poetry has had not one great heyday, but many. You pass a poem to the audience through the words as embodied – literally – by the rest of your human form. And the people listening and watching come back at you in an equally embodied way.”—Why performance is the embodiment of poetry— Michael Rosen (via The Guardian)
“Whatever pain you suffer, after you have observed it, after you have imagined its shape and taste and texture, after you have hypothesized its cause, ask yourself, “Am I ready to let this go?” If you say yes, your pain will disappear. If it does not disappear, you have two options:
1) Call a doctor.
2) Ask yourself, “What does this pain want to teach me?” and then, “Am I willing to learn its lesson?””—Cindy Clem— Darkly Devotions | [PANK]
“Most of the members are English students or graduates, but not exclusively so. For example, I’m studying archaeology and write a lot of archaeology poems. There are also a lot of people who come from theatre backgrounds and are very performance-focused, while other members are more focused on being published. We cover a range of page and stage poetry and ultimately the group is about what you bring to it from your own background.”—Want to know more about Burn After Reading? BAR Poet Greer Dewdney is interviewed by The Little Owl— Page vs Stage Poetry | The Little Owl
“This is a page-by-page interactive companion to Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. Explore 402 pages of unique digital interpretations inspired by the words found on each of the 402 pages of the novel itself.”—
“The Chatsfield is a digital, fictional luxury London hotel that his home to over 800 pieces of digital content that weave together the story lines of hotel staff and guests, with different characters communicating in different ways. Characters have their own video blogs, you can access their email inbox and follow them on Twitter. You can even email or call characters and be guaranteed a reply. Another interesting aspect is that the story will operate in real time, with the Hotel having it’s doors open for just the next three months. However readers will be able to piece the stories together at any point. In a bid to bolster the Chatsfield’s media presence, social interactions will be rewarded with extra content. It’s not linear storytelling and maybe starts blurring the lines between reality and fiction, but for the purist (of sorts) there are fifteen new ebook titles in the hotel’s library.”—
Hm. Not so sure about the interface. Looks a bit mid-00s flat interactive multimedia environment for my tastes, though that’s perhaps unfair of me to say without having actually seen it pixel for pixel. Nonetheless, I’m interested in finding out more…
“As Johnson describes it, the spark file is “a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I’m going to write, even whole books…. There’s no organizing principle to it, no taxonomy–just a chronological list of semi-random ideas that I’ve managed to capture before I forgot them.” The key to the effectiveness of this exercise, according to Johnson, is periodically reading the spark file from start to finish. “I end up seeing new connections that hadn’t occurred to me the first (or fifth) time around,” he writes. “Sure, I end up reading over many hunches that never went anywhere, but there are almost always little sparks that I’d forgotten that suddenly seem more promising. And it’s always encouraging to see the hunches that turned into fully-realized projects or even entire books.””—
Yes. There’s a point at which tweaking your writing workflow moves away from productive adjustments and more into self-stimulating abstraction. After all, the simplest way to get writing done is take pen and paper, apply backside to seat and write. Right?
While that’s true, tools and methods can most definitely impact on your process in positive ways. It’s a bad habit of mine— constantly migrating through systems and apps— but it’s largely rewarding. Most recently, I’ve been writing in FoldingText (using pre-release v2 version of the app). As a tool, it lends itself to just about anything I do with text, whether that’s writing poems, drafting blog posts, capturing ideas for workshop plans, taking down minutes for meetings or managing projects. And because it works with plain text files, it’s infinitely portable. Although there’s no close equivalent for FoldingText for iOS, I can open the same files on my iPad or iPhone and still get writing/work done.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make all the difference…
“It all comes back to that lack of understanding, really. They don’t understand how an education different from their own could be as good – or better – for the young people of today. They don’t understand how contemporary texts they’ve never really engaged with could possibly stand up to a linguistic analysis worthy of A-Level study. They don’t understand how young people might learn from the words of people with similar origins to themselves, rather than by being indoctrinated by the status quo of white, male supremacy that has held such disproportionate power up until now.”—
Following up from yesterday’s frenetic buzz around the OCR / English and Media Centre’s proposed English Language and Literature A/AS level syllabus. It was reported that a senior DfE source denounced the syllabus as "rubbish in place of a proper A-level". Sophie B Lovett, quoted above, puts forward a solid defence…