Cathy Day’s principles of Literary Citizenship

LitCit

Sometimes I talk about these principles at writer-type gatherings.

Cross Post Alert: I published some initial thoughts and principles about literary citizenship, in March 2011 over at The Bird Sisters, writer Rebecca Rasmussen’s blog dedicated to artists and writers. I got a lot of my ideas from this post on the Brevity blog.

Literary Citizenship

I’ve been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years now, and here’s something I’ve observed: what brings most people to the creative writing classroom or the writing conference isn’t simply the desire to “be a writer,” but rather (or also) the desire to be a part of a literary community.
Deep down, we know that not everyone who signs up for the class or the conference will become a traditionally published writer. Well, so what? What if they become agents, editors, publishers, book reviewers, book club members, teachers, librarians, readers, or parents of all of the above?

Read the rest of this entry »


Books change lives

change livesIn case you were thinking that I was teaching students how to be “hype-machines” in my Literary Citizenship class, check this out from my student James Gartner:

Literary citizenship isn’t just about engaging people who already love to read or write and talk about books, but also about expanding the literary world. Books can change lives and influence attitudes for good or ill.

Read the rest of his excellent round-up post here.


Can I get 100 AWP members to vote–again?

yopp

Let’s practice some genuine literary citizenship, people. Let’s do something positive.

AWP is this close to having a quorum. They are at 54%. They need to get to 60%. By next week!

Incentive for them: If they get to 60%, they save beaucoup bucks in legal fees, and they’re better equipped to serve you.

Incentive for you: You can win a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite. Plus, you know, making a difference and all that.

Just go here and vote.

Even if you voted last year–the last time I tried to help in this effort–you have to vote again!

How should you vote? Vote yes or no. Doesn’t matter. Just vote.

Who should vote? Every freaking body. Tenure-track faculty. Non-tenure track. Individual members.

What are you voting for? Here’s the explanation from my friend and colleague, Jill Christman, member of the AWP board.

We are closer than we have *ever* been to reaching the quorum necessary to reform AWP’s governance and enter this millennium with pens poised.  AWP’s current articles of incorporation and bylaws have many vestigial remnants from the 1960s and 1970s, when AWP was a much smaller organization. We need new bylaws and articles to help AWP to better serve a more diverse and bigger association. Regional representation of the programs and faculty will continue in the new system of governance, with the regions expanding from five to six groups of membership. Each of the new Region Councils shall have a representative on the board, as the regions have now.

The last call for votes brought us up a couple percentage points, but we’re not to 60% yet, and we need to get there before the end of this semester.

You don’t have to vote “yes.”  You don’t even have to vote “no.”  You simply have to register your presence.  Let us know you were there. Remember, the voting cycle started anew in Fall 2013, so if you voted *before* that, do it again now.

Remember the final pages of Horton Hears a Who​?  The mayor tearing up those fabulous Seussian staircases in Whoville with his megaphone in search of that single shirker?  That final, critical, town-saving “Yopp”?  Go find the Jo-Jos in your program and encourage them to put down their yo-yos and vote. We can do this.

After you vote:

  • Leave a comment here.
  • Tweet “I voted in the AWP election. I’m a #litcitizen” and I’ll see it.
  • Share this link on Facebook and rouse YOUR friends into a voting frenzy.
  • Let’s do something positive.

The Dystopia- Favorite Social Issue Addressed in Fiction

Cathy Day:

Another way to think about Literary Citizenship: do we have an obligation to raise and address social issues in what we write? Does what we read reveal our societal concerns? For example, one of my favorite dystopian novels is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I realize speaks to my anxieties about women’s equality. Read this post by Eric Long and share with us your favorite dystopian novels and WHY you like them.

Originally posted on ejlongblog:

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Dystopian fiction has always been one of my favorite concepts in literature. Ever since reading Orwells’s 1984 in high school, followed by Aldous Huxley’s Brand New WorldI developed a slight, SLIGHT, obsession. A dystopia, for those of you who don’t know, is basically the opposite of a utopia. It’s an idea proposed to challenge the concepts used to achieve a utopia. For instance, Judge Dredd (super-future-cold-hearted-etc cop) does a hell of a job enforcing the law and minimizing crime rates, but does so at the cost of impoverished citizenship with leaps and bounds of social prejudice. For the rich this might seem like a utopia, but even from that perspective, I doubt you could argue against the derelict living conditions of 90% of the population. Some other fun dystopian universes I enjoy (Yay!):

  • The Matrix
  • Equilibrium
  • Clockwork Orange
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Blade Runner
  • Animal Farm
  • I…

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The UIndy Publishing Internship Network (PLUS: A Call For More Presses/Journals)

Cathy Day:

What if all creative writing programs did this? What if instead of expecting our students to figure it out on their own, we gave them some stars to steer by?

Originally posted on Salvatore Pane:

uindy-schwitzer-student-center-with-flowers

I’m so excited to announce that the UIndy English department will be teaming up with a large group of presses and journals over the next few years to offer our students onsite and offsite internships with organizations based in Los Angeles and Manhattan and hopefully everywhere else in between. This builds heavily off the work of Prof. Kevin McKelvey, and over the upcoming summer and fall, we’re placing our students into internships with Boss Fight Books, Braddock Avenue Books, and a host of other magazines and presses we shouldn’t announce just quite yet. I’m hoping to extend and build connections with other presses and journals over the coming months, and if you’re interested in having either an onsite or offsite intern in the fall, spring, or summer, please do not hesitate to contact me at panes@uindy.edu. This is an amazing opportunity for our students to get hands…

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A Better Place For Readers

Cathy Day:

These are excellent questions: What are some books that you needed and didn’t know about? What are some books that you had that helped you figure things out? And how are you making sure that other people know how great they are?

Originally posted on Brittany Means:

When we talk about Literary Citizenship, it seems like we say a lot about making the world a better place for writers, and getting people interested in books. Which they definitely should be. But maybe we should start talking about how to make the world a better place for readers too. Let me explain. As a kid, reading was such an important part of my life. I read on the toilet, at recess, when I should have been sleeping, during church.

ImageOne series that I loved with all of my heart was A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. What made it so great was that Violet Baudelaire, the oldest, was a girl like me and she was the one who was generally in charge, saving the day, fixing everything. As a kid who was also, incidentally, a girl, and someone not very in control of the events in her life…

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Literary Citizen-and why you should be one #litcitizen

Cathy Day:

THANK YOU SO MUCH Cheryl Russell for talking about Literary Citizenship and for inviting my students to contribute to your blog.

Originally posted on Why The Writing Works:

Lit Citizen-literary citizen. Loose definition—promoting others’ work over your own.

It’s a concept worth practicing—share others’ work instead of relentlessly promoting your own. But not just anyone’s work; share work you believe in.

*Read books and share the good stories, across all genres. Read, and then promote the work that you believe needs shared with the literary world.

*Support literary magazines through subscriptions if you can; but at the very least track down issues at a library, read, and then share the stories that resonated with you with others.

*Buy books and post reviews of the ones you believe need more readers.

*Support authors you enjoy by sharing their work and sending them a note of encouragement/appreciation.

Read more about literary citizenship at the Literary Citizenship blog.

Cathy Day teaches a class on literary citizenship at Ball State University. Check out their website and follow them on twitter.

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Interview with Recent Alum Tyler Gobble on Living the Writer’s Life and Winning a Book Award

Cathy Day:

This guy. This guy. He’s such a wonderful literary citizen. I really learned a lot just by watching him go go go.

Originally posted on Ball State English Department:

TGOB

Tyler Gobble graduated from Ball State University in May 2011. He is a multi-hat wearer for Magic Helicopter Press and host of the Everything Is Bigger reading series at Malvern Books in Austin, TX. He has plopped out four chapbooks, with two others called Other People’s Poems (Radioactive Moat) and Collected Feelings with Layne Ransom (Forklift INK) forthcoming, and his first full-length will be out from Coconut Books in the fall of 2014. He likes disc golf, tank tops, and bacon, and yes, in that order. Feel free to mosey a message over to gobble.tyler@gmail.com for whatever reasons.

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