Seminar Proposals for 2004-2010

1.) A year-long workshop in the COMPLETION OF A BOOK, which would include not only the writing (or equivalent production) of a book-length manuscript but copy-editing, design, and production, by any means available to the student, of a camera-ready dummy. Since I believe that once you think in terms of doing a book, certain problems are common, this course would be open to those wishing to produce book-length manuscripts of poetry as well as fiction, visual books (of photographs or related drawings) as well as nonfiction. Participants would make copies of works in progress available to one another for continuous criticism and constructive comment throughout the course of the year. (Now that I've produced some books, I wish I had myself once taken such a course.)

2.) A year-long workshop in the production of MAJOR ART PROJECTS, open to practitioners of all arts, where the requirement is simply the creation of major work representing the sum of all the student has learned, plus intensive labor. The emphasis will be on learning how to think like a professional artist, rather than mastering the techniques of a discipline. I believe that though the various arts may differ, the production of art involves common problems and that working alongside people in arts other than your own has two advantages--an increase in general intelligence about art and a decrease in feelings of specific competition. Students will be asked to write critical commentary on all their colleagues during the course. Readings and other research will be individually prescribed to suit the needs of each student.

3.) A one-semester (preferably fall) seminar in EXPERIMENTAL WRITING, which would require students to produce work with reference to literature that is radically unlike anything they or I have seen before. This is designed to stretch imaginations, forcing students to produce work well beyond what they have done, or thought they could do, when they began the course. Readings will include anthologies edited by me: Imaged Words & Worded Images (1970), Future's Fictions (1971), Breakthrough Fictioneers (1973), Essaying Essays (1975), Scenarios (1980), Text-Sound Texts (1980) and The Avant-Garde Tradition in Literature (1982), which will function as catalogues of recent innovations that need no longer be done.

4.) A one-semester seminar in the writing of ARTS CRITICISM, with an emphasis upon writing and thus be open to critical aspirants of all arts. Different though the arts are, I find that, once you become familiar with an art and develop esthetic principles, the problems of writing criticism are fundamentally similar. Students will be required to write different kinds of essays (monographs as well as reviews), with different approaches (description as well as opinion), making copies for one another to criticize, not only as editors but as colleagues; work will conclude with each student writing an extended critical essay. Here too readings for students will be recommended individually.

5.) A one-semester seminar in the WRITE OF ARTING, which would be for practitioners of all arts, requiring esthetic self-definition through the writing of manifestoes, program notes, autobiographical summaries, proposals, etc. Readings will include appropriate writings of artists who have written about their own work with especial perspicacity: John Cage, L. Moholy-Nagy, Ad Reinhardt, Paul Klee, Henry James, and Merce Cunningham, with further selections designed to suit the individual ambitions of each student.

These are meant to supplement courses already given (rather than compete); no other university known to me has them (and that nobody else could give them). None of them need a detailed syllabus; all of them require a good deal of work.