Tag Archives: Shakespeare

In Which One Things Leads to Another

Part One, In Which One Thing Leads Clearly To Another

I got Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work from the library because someone on Facebook or somewhere posted his great “How to Support an Artist You Love” list and then I googled him.

[Go look at it then come back.]

[Welcome back. It’s great, right?] 

I liked Show Your Work, which is to say I agree, it seems pretty smart about trying to be an artist in that which is our now, how to get out there, how to connect, how to show your work. (Also, he quotes Dan Chaon, Alison Bechdel, Cyndi Lauper, and John Le Carre, so what’s not to like.) Continue reading

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Taking Heart

I’ve taken heart recently, creatively speaking, from three books: Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare,  Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Forever, and Keith Richards’ autobiography Life.

From Greenblatt’s very readable and fascinating biography of Shakespeare, just how much Shakespeare stole plots/basic ideas from other existing plays or stories. (I knew he had done so sometimes, but didn’t realize quite how much.) Creative lesson: you don’t, necessarily, have to reinvent the wheel. Continue reading

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June

It’s June! It’s summer! Or, well, it will be soon…Not yet glorious summer in this neck of the woods. June for the Northwest is blue skies & 80′ with a nice breeze for a maximum of two days in a row, bookended by weeks of regular old gray & 60′ with sprinkles. Layer, shed, layer, shed, layer…

In July, summer is a real season, though even then “summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Right now summer is just a feeling, just like “the hour things get / To be excellently pointless, like describing the alphabet,” as Joshua Clover’s “An Archive of Confessions, A Genealogy of Confessions” goes. Or, as Laurie Sheck puts it in “No Summer as yet,” “No summer as yet, but it will come with its bright pieces of whatever.” Continue reading

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Sonnets, The Gritty Ones Especially

The soufflé cliché feels apt for sonnets, the cliché about them falling down a lot, and even though I’ve never made a soufflé, or even watched someone make one, and can’t remember the last time I ate one, I’m going to go with it.

So. The sonnet is just like the soufflé. All are made with the same ingredients, but only a few turn out right. Most collapse. It’s all in the technique and the quality of the ingredients. I’ve been working my way through The Making of a Sonnet (eds Hirsch and Boland), a pretty thorough anthology divided mostly by century (Sixteenth – Twentieth), with sections also for sonnets about sonnets (‘The Sonnet in the Mirror’) and sonnets of lengths other than 14 lines. And I don’t like most of them.

Which isn’t saying much — percentage-wise I probably don’t like most of any type of poetry. Like all the other arts, for every shining peak of a poem there’s a ginormous iceberg of crap poems waiting to sink you. And sonnets have been written around for 500 years now, so that’s a big iceberg.

However, the sonnets I like I tend to love. Broadly speaking I feel more strongly, I think, about the sonnets that I like, than, for instance, the ghazals that I like. Continue reading

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