Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Student Choice Day 3

Okay, you know the drill. Let's get right to it.

Dave Housley -- "Seven Clowns Before the Explosion" -- Dark Sky Magazine

I was proud when my students noted that this story largely works in an internal, narrative-based way rather than operating in an external, plot-based mode. We agreed that the structure -- the cycle of protagonists -- was essential to making that work. Of course the idea of the characters careening around in this clown car helps, too. The student who chose the piece enjoyed the dark tone and the unusual subject matter.

Matt Briggs -- "Knot" -- Birkensnake

Was good to see Birkensnake get some love. We talked about the way the imagery and events literalize what might otherwise be abstract (if familiar) emotions, feelings, experiences. The way they become "tactile," concrete. The pleasure of reading it literally, the pleasure of reading it metaphorically. The ways it is perhaps influenced by poetry. The potential for accuracy in exaggeration.

Rob Roensch -- "The Customer" -- PANK

This student enjoyed the repetition of sentence structures, the lengthy candy list. We talked about the way a story can implicate readers by presenting them with a moral decision wherein they can imagine doing what the protagonist did, and so learn something new about themselves and other people; in this story the speaker does not rape a girl, but admits he might have given the chance, and does nothing to save her from others who do rape her. This is presented in a light that lets the reader see the extent to which he (or, probably to a lesser extent, she) might do the same thing.

Peter Schwartz -- "In Defense We Carry Potions" -- elimae

The student emphasized the slanted repetition of sounds, words, and phrases, and the impressionistic logic of the poem -- we talked about the way language can work more by association and connotation than by direct narrative.

Gary Moshimer -- "Feel Your Boobies" -- Storyglossia

We talked about the way the child protagonists slant their telling of the story, the way their language and their understandings structure and bring meaning to the story. We agreed that in some instances this story was contrived, but that on the other hand writers need to think more about how their narrators (whether characters or disembodied voices) will slant and distort their story, and how this can be productive.

Thursday is our last day of student selections, and I'm curious to see what we'll talk about.

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