Creativity Corner

All About the Arts

Free Verse Poetry or “how to play with unseen rackets”

By Maria Moss

Any­one can write free verse – or so the say­ing goes. Free verse poems are free from lim­i­ta­tions of meter, rhythm, or rhyme – all aspects that some­times cause grief to cre­ative writ­ing stu­dents. Most of my stu­dents are hap­py if, for once, they are free to fol­low their own ideas with­out hav­ing to pay atten­tion to what many per­ceive as the arti­fi­cial­i­ty of tra­di­tion­al rhymed and metered poet­ry. How­ev­er, even free verse poems are not void of artis­tic expression.

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A Nude Dance

By Rizwan Wazir

New Year’s Eve is prac­ti­cal­ly upon us once again. Do you always feel guilty for being lazy and not ‘hav­ing fun’ on all the ‘impor­tant’ occa­sions? If so, then instead of curs­ing your­self or the uni­verse for your lone­li­ness, you can choose to be at peace. Instead of scrolling through the Insta­gram feeds of your friends, you can scroll through your own life his­to­ry. Here is a recipe that will make the night one to remem­ber, even if you’re all alone:

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On Bloomsday, Dublin Comes to Many U.S. Cities or ‘Milly Bloom Also Has a Few Words to Say’

By Deborah A. Cecere

James Joyce stat­ue, Earl Street North, Dublin https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Joyce_statue,_Dublin_1998.jpg

What does the nov­el Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce (1882–1941) have to do with Amer­i­can Stud­ies? The answer is sim­ple: Blooms­day is an annu­al lit­er­ary fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ed in many U.S. cities, around the globe, and par­tic­u­lar­ly in Dublin, the set­ting of the nov­el. The event is named for one of the novel’s pro­tag­o­nists, Leopold Bloom. The nov­el takes place on June 16, 1904, the day that James Joyce met his lat­er wife, Nora Bar­na­cle. Cel­e­bra­tion activ­i­ties include dress­ing up in peri­od cos­tumes, read­ings, the­ater per­for­mances, film screen­ings, and art exhibits asso­ci­at­ed with the nov­el and Joyce’s writ­ings and life. The live­li­ness of the fes­ti­vals tes­ti­fies to the fun of read­ing Ulysses, espe­cial­ly if it’s read aloud. The nov­el is often mis­tak­en­ly described as inscrutable for the aver­age read­er, but it is per­haps more accu­rate­ly described as sur­pris­ing­ly readable.

In hon­or of Blooms­day, I’ve imag­ined a tongue-in-cheek let­ter of con­do­lence from Mil­ly Bloom, now fifty-two, but at the time of the nov­el the fif­teen-year-old daugh­ter of Leopold Bloom and his wife, Mol­ly, to Mrs. Joyce (born Nora Bar­na­cle). The let­ter is dat­ed 1941, nine­teen years fol­low­ing the novel’s pub­li­ca­tion and thir­ty-sev­en years fol­low­ing that famous day in Dublin in 1904.

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Little Girl

By Matti Linke

“old iron gate” by Core­Force is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The day start­ed with a cold waft from a freez­ing night in the mid­dle of March, as the warm light from the slow­ly ris­ing sun filled the old but well-kept house of Mr. Par­nell with bright­ness. It crawled from the kitchen sink over every cup­board to the emp­ty wood­en din­ing table and the flow­ered arm­chair in the lounge, paved its way to the frayed car­pet in the small hall­way and revealed the out­lines of the main door, an incon­spic­u­ous iron gate, cov­ered with branch­es and tendrils.

Although the house includ­ed a few more rooms, you could nev­er see through the heavy drapes behind the win­dows, falling grave­ly from the cur­tain rods. Nei­ther Mr. Par­nell nor his lit­tle girl ever used the rooms, which were filled with antique fur­ni­ture, old paint­ings, sculp­tures, and var­i­ous col­lec­tables. Every lit­tle piece had its prop­er place, well ordered but in their sheer mul­ti­tude sim­ply unfath­omable. The nar­row base­ment, which was most­ly used as a stor­age room for gro­ceries, had anoth­er tiny win­dow, but it was noth­ing more than a vent and way too small to let any light in or out.

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“Writing is how I process things”: An Interview with Miriam Toews

By Sabrina Völz and Maryann Henck

Pho­to Cred­it: Car­ol Loewen

We met Miri­am Toews at a read­ing in Ham­burg on March 26, 2019. Toews was on a book tour to pro­mote the Ger­man trans­la­tion of her sev­enth nov­el, Women Talk­ing. The nov­el is based on very dis­turb­ing events that took place between 2005 and 2008 in Bolivia. The Ger­man ver­sion, Die Aussprache, was pub­lished by Hoff­mann und Campe in 2018. For her nov­el, A Com­pli­cat­ed Kind­ness (2004), Miri­am Toews won Canada’s most pres­ti­gious lit­er­ary prize, the Gov­er­nor General’s Award. Since Toews will not be phys­i­cal­ly present at the Frank­furt Book Fair 2020 to rep­re­sent Cana­da, this year’s guest of hon­or, this inter­view will hope­ful­ly help tie us over until her next vis­it to Germany.

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2020 Haiku Contest

Compiled by the U.S. Consulate General Leipzig

“bro­ken win­dow” by Ilias Theodoropoulos

Just last month, the U.S. Con­sulate Gen­er­al Leipzig orga­nized a Haiku con­test for both high school and uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents. The mot­to for this cre­ative writ­ing chal­lenge was “Look­ing out­side – Look­ing inside,” that is, notic­ing the con­nec­tions between the change in sea­son and the change in one’s inter­nal land­scape. Stu­dents were asked to put their thoughts and feel­ings into a Haiku con­sist­ing of three lines and 17 syl­la­bles in total.

The con­sulate received about 100 sub­mis­sions from eight Ger­man states and places as far away as Nige­ria. Amer­i­can poet and now also haiku con­test judge, Jen­nifer Kro­novet, select­ed 10 of her favorite Haikus and com­ment­ed on her top three.

The blog edi­tors con­grat­u­late all win­ners. Keep up the good work!

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