Saturday, February 7, 2009

What She Said


Some sentences and fragments that Diane Williams said in a workshop I took with her recently at the Mercantile Library:

- natural characteristics of great human speech
- analyze the poetic content of your most successful sentences
- boredom is a suspicious emotion
- eh, eh, eh
- think of some remembered language from your childhood
- eee, eee, eee
- authentic hearts on the page
- yes, there is such a thing as genius (me: I wanted to grill her on this point, but DW seemed not amenable to grilling)
- puh, puh, puh
- you want to smear yourself on the page
- genuine artifice
- all that it is is words on a page
- to feel cold and detached doesn't imply failure
- what you say under your breath
- tuh, tuh, tuh
I hope my time adds up to something valuable

Books recommended by Diane Williams: Emerson's essays, in particular "the poet"; Sharon Olds, in particular "the father"; a travel guide of Romania; Barry Hannah, in particular "water liars"; Harold Brodkey, in particular "his son, in his arms, in light, aloft"; Robert Alter (translator of biblical literature); Irish folk-tales.


Brandon Hobson said...

Yes! Those are great! I wish I could've been there.

Egg Off-Kilter said...

I'm glad someone appreciates this. There were many more. I was sometimes stunned. DW runs a good class, a tough class; she always demonstrated her unique intelligence and ear.

James said...

is the class now done? you used the past tense.

"water liars" is such a great story. the line about old people "dying off or succumbing to constipation, etc., whereupon..." always gets me.

i hope i get into gordon lish class. i promise to leave similar gems.