Tag Archives: Stanley Fish

Finals Week

14 May

As you’re reading this, I’m probably studying or hunched over a scantron, bubbling in various letters that represent a semester’s worth of knowledge. (Wish me luck!)

What I’m here to say, though, is a response to my post on January 25, 2013: Back to School. In case you started following me recently (or can’t remember this post) I talked about the books I’d be required to read, and I promised I’d let you all know what I thought about the texts. So, without further ado, I’ve listed the readings in order of favorite to least favorite beneath the specific reading/writing course:

Poetry Writing:

1. The Unmemntioable by Erín Moure: This was my favorite poetry collection by far. I often underline my favorite lines while I’m reading, but I started underlining everything Moure wrote! In fact, I actually posted about this reading earlier this year: April 8, 2013: Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Eric Moure.

2. Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!   by Peter Davis: Seemingly cute, easy, and fun read, but ultimately challenges the writer to face the truth behind the ego of the artist. I don’t want to say too much, because I’m planning on doing a post on this soon!

3. The new black by Evie Shockley: I’ve read this collection numerous times now, and I find new cultural challenges every time. Shockley is great at questioning on what makes a person within their race while using form to enhance it.

4. Well Then There Now by Juliana Spahr: This collection is a study on ecopoetics. It’s very interesting, but I often got lost on some of the language, perhaps because I’m unfamiliar with Hawaiian terms. However, I’d still give it a four-star rating, because my professor allowed me to understand. Alone, I’m unsure what I’d rate it.

Poetry collections in order of like.

Poetry collections in order of like.

Nonfiction Writing: This class was my first nonfiction class, and I loved it! 

1. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate: Great collection of personal essays, from authors I recognized and from new writers I’ve never come across. Organized by topic and year. Loved to flip through it and just let the words take me away.

2. Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction Works from 1970 to the Present by Lex Williford and Michael Marten: It was hard for me to choose between the first and second rating. I picked this one as number two only because we didn’t get a chance to talk about these essays as much, but it’s just as great of a collection!

3. Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction Judith Kitchen: I enjoyed the switch from longer essays to the shorter ones. Amazing how much can be said in so little words.

4. Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction by Dinty Moore: Very clear about how to write nonfiction personal essays, if you’re looking into writing one for yourself and/or others.

5. How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish: On March 19, 2013: Relax & Read: How to Write a Sentence, I wrote about this thin but very informative book. Easy for the beginning and a nice reminder for everyone who might get caught up in the complexity of writing later on.

Nonfiction novels in order of like.

Nonfiction novels in order of like.

I apologize for the short post, but I’m really busy studying! I will return with excitement (and, hopefully, A’s!) I hope everyone’s week is going well, and, as usual, comment on this post and let me know if there is any topic (or writing advice) you’re curious about!

~SAT

Relax & Read: How to Write a Sentence

19 Mar

As told in my Back to School post, my NonFiction Writing I class assigned Stanley Fish’s How-To book, How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One. We just wrapped up this short (only 160 pages) book, and, although my class had some complaints about simplicity, I really enjoyed it.

From the beginning, Fish describes the sentence as a medium (like paint to the artist) and how writers need to love the sentence before they can master the sentence. When he states, “I belong to the tribe of sentences watchers” I fell in love. I thought his honesty was relatable, and his task was courageous. As many writers like to believe they understand everything there is to writing, especially after practicing for years, no one does, and I think Fish acknowledges this very respectively. He doesn’t act as if he knows everything; instead, he opens up to forms upon forms upon styles that can be reviewed and studied, torn apart and understood.

This was the copy I bought, but it's often red and hardcover now.

This was the copy I bought, but it’s often red and hardcover now.

I really liked this, BECAUSE of his simplicity. I think, at least for me, I often get caught up in the complexity of language (meaning I’ve surpassed the basics, but I sometimes lose myself on complicating things too much.) Like an abstract artist, I may lose concentration on the overall piece, and Fish really grips reality when he discusses the relationships from word to word, sentence to sentence.

“This is what language does: organize the world into manageable, and in some sense artificial, units that can then be inhabited and manipulated.”

I really encourage others (and myself) to often return to the basics, because that is our foundation, and we need a strong foundation if we’re going to keep building up. You cannot neglect the support when it begins to topple. In other words, you cannot forget your basic structures, even if you’re working within complex ones.

On top of that, if you’re looking for some quick writing tips, Fish discusses first and last sentences towards the back of the book, and I think his insights are very useful.

So..if you’re in the bookstore, and you’re looking for a quick read to help improve writing, take a step backwards and relearn where you came from in the first place.

It will surely strike up that passion of our original love for our medium: the sentence,

~SAT

March 21: Publishing News: Synopsis & Cover Date Reveal

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