How to Haiku

By Maria Moss

haiku
“Haiku” by Stephane

I finally know

why students don’t like Haikus

too many syllables

 

Ooops, something went wrong – right: the last line. It has 6 syllables but should consist of no more than 5. O well, that’s the problems with Haiku writing – it sounds easy at first, but there are quite a few rules to obey. At least if you want to write a traditional Haiku.

Read more »

Getting to Know You

By Bobbie Kirkhart

my university school days – at least on the student side of the desk – are two decades past now, but I daresay this story is still playing out today, in graduate schools and other places where thinking people with different experiences collide.

On the first night of class, we started with an icebreaker: paired off, we were to interview each other and then introduce our colleague to the class. I was partnered with a woman who, as soon as the professor said “begin,” narrated her life story. I knew everything about her in 10 minutes without having asked a single question.  She concluded her soliloquy with the statement, “I’m very active in my church.”

When she interviewed me, I concluded, “I’m an atheist activist.” I was almost expecting a negative response, but she simply commented, “that’s interesting.”

When we were called on, she introduced me, my school, my specialty, my hobbies, and then turned to me and asked, “Shall I tell them the secret?” Read more »

The Road (2009)

By Kai-Arne Zimny

Several years after a catastrophic event has destroyed all of America’s – and maybe the whole world’s – flora and fauna, a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are on a desperate journey through this barren, cold, and gray new world. They are led by a vague shimmer of hope that there might still be a better place somewhere. “We have to keep carrying the fire,” the father tries to motivate his young son, who has seen real plants and animals only in his ragged picture book. Here and there, the morbid silent solitude is disturbed by something far worse – bands of surviving humans, just as much on the verge of starvation as father and son and, to make things worse, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to survive.

theroad
The Road (2009) photo credit: Andrés Fevrier

 

Read more »

Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir: A Review

By Sabrina Völz

The 1990s rang in an – if not the – era of memoir writing. Since then, memoir publications have surged and with them their readership as well as thartofmemoire sound of cash registers ringing up sale after sale. One reason for their popularity can be traced back to the postmodern questioning of the very foundation upon which non-fiction was based: the concept of an infallible truth. This development, combined with the rise of social media and the willingness of people to share their intimate details with everyone, has provided fertile ground for many people of all backgrounds. Yes, academics as well as average people with little or no professional training as writers do try their hand at this ever-growing subgenre of creative non-fiction. And who can blame them? Why not write something for yourself, your family and friends as well as posterity, especially if history or mainstream society has ignored, silenced, or misrepresented you? And while there are a lot of trashy, gossipy, or unfaithful memoirs, the public as well as critics and scholars are starting to agree that memoir – if done with true honesty, voice, and a dose of creativity – can be just as powerful and masterful as the best fiction writing. So, to the autobiography I would say: “Move over bacon, there is something meatier!” And its name is memoir.

Read more »

Laughing about Melissa McCarthy – Thoughts of a Conflicted Fan

By Evangelia Kindinger

melissamccarthy

Ever since I saw her as Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls (2000–2007), I’ve been a fan of the actress Melissa McCarthy. She was one of the few fat women on TV whose fatness was not a topic of conversation within the series’ universe or a motif to narrate the character’s storyline. (If you are surprised by my uninhibited use of the word “fat,” I suggest you google Fat Studies.) She was a chef, a wife, a mother, an important member of the Stars Hollow community, and ultimately, a best friend to protagonist Lorelei Gilmore. Although the “fat-sidekick” cliché clouded my love for the series, I accepted it as the price to pay for such an unconventional representation of fat femininity on television. Read more »