On Teaching the Graphic Novel

Koreanish

About once a month, I get asked by a colleague or friend for the syllabus I used to teach my seminar on the Graphic Novel at Amherst. Included below is a list of the texts that I used to teach students. In that seminar I allowed optional creative exercises and finals, and that led to me teaching tutorials in the making of comics, which led to me advising two graphic novel theses to summa honors. I’m very proud of those students, who were both also awarded the English Department’s prize for best thesis. Amherst’s English department was very generous and supportive in the teaching I did there throughout, and I’m incredibly grateful for the hard work of all of my students.

I taught the class as an experiment, even an expedition of a kind, and so it was never the same every time. I began teaching it because more graphic novels…

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Jane Austen, Programming Languages, and Being “That Guy” in the Writing Class

The Incompetent Writer

Did you read the Buzzfeed piece that came out last month, about writing workshops and Pride and Prejudice, by Shannon Reed? “If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop.”

1436878433_full.png Photo credit: Buzzfeed and Dan Meth

You should. It’s very funny.

Dear Jane,
I don’t usually read chick lit, but I didn’t hate reading this draft of your novel, which you’re calling Pride and Prejudice. I really liked the part where Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle went on a road trip, which reminded me of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (also about a road trip — check it out!).

I won’t lie. I like to think I’m not as sexist and priggish as this guy. Still, parts of Reed’s piece made me cringe in self-recognition.

I winced.

In a writing workshop, it’s easy (easy at least for me) to develop the exact tone (superior…

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Digital Devices and Learning to Grow Up

L.M. Sacasas

Last week the NY Times ran the sort of op-ed on digital culture that the cultured despisers love to ridicule. In it, Jane Brody made a host of claims about the detrimental consequences of digital media consumption on children, especially the very young. She had the temerity, for example, to call texting the “next national epidemic.” Consider as well the following paragraphs:

“Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. ‘There’s no conversation anymore,’ said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.

‘If kids are…

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Mary Frey

photoparley

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 16.44.04

Untitled from the series Family, Friends and Strangers by Mary Frey

Mary Frey is a prominent photographer and Professor of Photography at Hartford Art School, Connecticut, USA. I first came across her work in the catalogue of Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort, the influential MoMA exhibition of 1991, so I was particularly excited when she agreed to be interviewed here. Her work demonstrates a sharpness of eye and meticulous technique and her concepts, although seemingly banal, renew my faith in everyday wonder and photography’s ability to take those moments and immortalise them. For me, it was a pleasure to discover her continued devotion to photography and her considered approach. I’ll let you enjoy it for yourself.

Can you tell us about when you first discovered photography? 

As a child, I loved to paint and draw and excelled in my art classes. In addition I grew up close to NYC…

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Love’s Oven is Warm: Baking with Emily Dickinson

The Not So Innocents Abroad

“Love’s oven is warm” Emily Dickinson wrote to her friend Sarah Tuckerman, on a note that enclosed a gift of slightly scorched handmade sweets, possibly chocolate caramels. If the words were by any other author, one would be forgiven for reading in them a possible sexual double entendre. But Emily Dickinson is enshrined in our memory as the ultimate virgin, the “Queen Recluse” as her friend, the editor Samuel Bowles, described the poet. Dressed always in white, she rarely left her house for thirty years, spending her days tucked away in an upstairs room, writing nearly two thousand poems that few people knew existed until well after her death.

Of course, scholars and fans have long made a cottage industry of identifying Dickinson’s secret failed love affairs: the broken engagement to her brother Austin’s Amherst classmate George Gould; the impossible love for the married Samuel Bowles; the late-life affair with her father’s friend, Judge Otis Phillips…

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Six months. Two wheels. 50 GPS doodles.

Sketchbook of a GPS Artist

Since I started pedalling my art on the streets of Victoria on the first day of 2015, I’ve amassed a portfolio of 50 GPS doodles – 34 pictures, 11 bike-writing messages and five creations that comprise a combination of both. Click on the poster below to see 31 of my favourites…plus the one that started it all!

Below the poster, I’ve included the link to each featured GPS doodle and its accompanying write-up.

GPSdoodles.com Garmin GPS Strava art by Stephen Lund in Victoria BC street art urban art GPS=tracking art 32 of the 50 GPS doodles Stephen Lund has created since January 1, 2015, using his bicycle, his Garmin Edge 800, tens of thousands of calories and a whole lot of creative energy

AN ECLECTIC COLLECTION OF GPS CRITTERS

QUEENS OF THE EMPIRE & KINGS OF THE MOUNTAIN

MYTHICAL, IMAGINARY & INTERPLANETARY

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I’m Furious About You Being Furious About The Thing You’re Furious About

mrchrisaddison

Watching social media more or less incessantly as I have been over the last few days – instead of working or feeding my children or acknowledging brief but important everyday moments of physical affection from my partner – I’ve seen, as you surely have, that everyone is furious about a thing.  This thing really has got goats and stuck in craws in every corner of the globe. It’s been trending for days and hardly anyone’s feed is free of comment on the subject.  Politicians and celebrities have weighed in with their opinions, and seventy-four badly-realised parody accounts based on this thing were registered by midnight Pacific Time last night.

But ask yourself this: why? Why are they furious about this thing when there is another thing that I believe they should be much more furious about?  The thing that I believe they should be furious about is so much more…

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But why shouldn’t she take some responsibility too for the rape?

blue milk

I am going to assume the person who left this comment on my post Don’t get raped is a man:

When it comes to any kind of crime, I think it is important to make a distinction between blame and responsibility. In all cases all of the blame belongs to the perpetrators. However, in some cases, some of the responsibility can also be put on the victim.

If a man goes alone through an area of the city at night and gets mugged, I would give him none of the blame, but some of the responsibility (He’s not at fault for doing what he did, but it was at least somewhat irresponsible of him to do so).

If a girl gets so completely drunk that she can not take care of herself and she ends up being raped, I would give her none of the blame, but still some of…

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