Exploded Prose: Old is the New New
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Writing
Department: Writing Program
Course Number: NWRW 3352
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
"Make it new!" was the battle cry of modernist Ezra Pound, whose most innovative work referenced historical Chinese and Japanese literature. In this workshop, we read and discuss selections from Sei Shōnagon's 11th-century Pillow Book and examples of 16th- and 17th-century Chinese hsiao-pin ("short form") prose vignettes and consider them alongside the vignettes and prose poems of two contemporary writers, Sandra Cisneros and James Tate. Supported by discussions, directed in-class writing exercises, and suggestions based on the texts we study, each student works to create an original story told in vignettes (fictional, nonfictional, or a mix) that "modernizes," with concision and lots of attitude, a favorite text or texts of a former era.