The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
- from G.C. Beaton
- from Pam Brown
- from digit
- from Jeri Kroll
- from Susan Lever
- from Moira McAuliffe
- from Hugh Martin
- from Gina Mercer
- from Terry O'Connor
- from Simon Pockley
- from Rhonda Whitton
from G.C. Beaton
Hi - enjoyed browsing the first issue of TEXT.
I like Steve Evans poetry - but perhaps it could have been set out more imaginatively?
Nigel Krauth's comments re. the Moya Costello piece interested me. I think much of the discussion revolves around how we view 'knowledge'.
There is a 'virtual writer' program happening here in Adelaide - you might want to contact email@example.com (Gail Kovatseff) from the multi-media centre.
I have just returned from a trip to the Outback (Woomera, Roxby Downs, Coober Pedy) - where, as part of the program, I was introducing people to the possibilities that the internet opens up for writers in remote regions.
from Pam Brown
Congratulations on your new cyberventure...and thanks for subscribing me.
It seems pretty diverse - the range of articles/contributors...I mean there are opinions with which I disagree (Kristin Henry's rather bleak review of "W/Edge" - which I think is a far more interesting endeavour than she does) - as well as plenty of things to agree with & think about...
Anyway - I look forward to further editions.
I thought the article 'Writing in Small Chunks" was interesting and insightful however it would be more fun and meaningful if there were lots of hyperlinks and it was more interactive.
from Jeri Kroll
TEXT looks terrific. I really like the layout and it's very user-friendly.
A few comments. Any chance of page numbers? I'm thinking of the new DEETYA guidelines and also of ease of reference if you want to quote from someone's article.
Thanks so much for taking this journal on. I know it's a huge task, but it certainly has turned out to be timely, considering the disastrous new guidelines DEETYA has dictated. We just got our new research data collection forms and I haven't dared open the envelope yet. Too many people have warned me about the excessive detail needed.
Isn't it awful that NO creative work will now be counted? Just my luck. I've got a young adult novel coming out in September, for which Flinders University will get zilch credit. Of course, I'm overjoyed anyway, but still, it rankles that some scientist's five-page piece with a lot of graphs will count whereas a two-hundred page novel won't.
Thank heavens that TEXT exists!
from Susan Lever
In view of Judith Rodriguez's letter to you suggesting a listing of postgraduate degrees which involve some element of 'writing', and her mention of ASAL's postgraduate listing, I would like to advise your readers that ASAL now maintains its register of postgraduate theses on its webpage http://www.adfa.oz.au/asal. We would be pleased to add any postgraduate theses involving Australian literature (in any form) to the list. Unfortunately, it seems to be current practice that thesis titles give only the haziest idea of the proposed content, but the list at least shows signs of activity in a general sort of way. Congratulations on the journal.
from Moira McAuliffe
In his article "Care & Feeding of a Creative Writing Dept." Brian Dibble says that the Film & Television course at WAIT (in operation in 1974) was a first in Aust. practice, The National Film & Television School not being formed at that point.
There was a Film & Television Dept. at Swinburne Institute of Technology at that time, which I believe had been functioning since about the mid-60's. Brian Robinson was Head of Dept., Ian McNeilage was Head of The Art School, which comprised Film & Television and Graphic Art.
In 1976 the Film & Television Dept. introduced a Graduate Diploma course; the previously existing course had been undergraduate-only. I was one of the graduates of that year.
I think Gillian Armstrong graduated from the u/grad course, and I know Michael Pattinson ("Moving Out" and "Ground Zero") did, because we were both in the undergrad. course in '75 and I helped arrange the gala screening of student films from that year's intake, in early '78 at the State Film Centre, in Melbourne. Esben Storm was also a student of the Film & TV course.
When I was there, there were persistent rumours that Michael Leuning had been a student in Graphic Design (I cannot for the life of me remember the exact name of the Graphics Dept.). I believe Graphics was rationalized over to Prahran at some point in the '80's, and Film & TV went to Preston? (I've lived o/seas for a number of years, & am not sure of that part of the history.)
But I do remember visiting lectures by Bud Tingwell, Harold Bagent, Tim Burstall and Fred Schepisi (when he had Filmhouse, before the release of "Devil's Playground") ... So it really did exist!
from Hugh Martin
A response to Kevin Brophy - "Endings: Reproducing Originality"
In allowing Roland Barthes assertion might the writer be confusing form and content? If Kevin Brophy used Dickens and Dostoevsky as a map in his early writings, that is only to say he recognised there was no need for him to reinvent the wheel and as an apprentice wheelwright he would do best to learn from those he perceived to be the masters of their craft. Kevin Brophy, the young writer, would then have written about what concerned Kevin Brophy not what concerned Dickens and Dostoevsky. Therefore the endings to his writing would have been dependent on the content of the work. Fiction writing is a thought experiment, "To go in search of" as Jacques Derrida has said. If the writer is honest to himself then the conclusions should be inevitable. In the words of John Gardner: "He creates what seems, at least by the test of his own imagination and experience of the world, an inevitable development of story."
The problem seems to lie in the use of map as metaphor. A map for a creative work is more akin to a plan than an accurate (or inaccurate) representation of terrain that already exists and simply needs to be traversed, unless we agree that art is a constant of humanness (thought, feeling, action) in which case to single out realism is not entirely honest because the individual nature of the artist will define that humanness, interpreting it and thereby differentiating it as a work of art. In accepting that creative maps exist and only need to be discovered, like secret formulas, aren't we denying the very act of creation and the artist's involvement in the act?
I am uncomfortable about accepting the opposition - spontaneity/planning, as fact. It seems to me that spontaneity exists within the plan and it is the freedom to move, to change the plan, which is intrinsic to the creative act but which at the same time does not deny the usefulness or necessity of a plan.
The examples of Monet and Kerouac only show that spontaneity exists in art as a structural signifier, as well as an initially creative element, thereby supporting the claim that artistic work is not predesigned, but bubbles out of the individual shaped and finished according to the artist's talent and dedication to their work.
Intentionality seems to be missing from Kevin Brophy's equation of the writer as creator. This is a theory of artist as victim to pre-ordained schedule. The day that writers accept this will mark the end of creative writing, which no amount of university courses will be able to resuscitate.
from Gina Mercer
Congratulations on such a creative response to the AVCC boneheads who so readily dismiss all our creative output - when I read about your journal in the AWSA Communique I was immediately impressed and appreciative. good luck with it, and you can count on my support - cheers -
from Terry O'Connor
Greetings, and congratulations on TEXT. It looks great. I've been skimming through the articles, and have put them aside until I have time to read them properly and absorb them all.
Despite my mutterings of the other night, TEXT is not full of theory which a mere journeyman such as I would find incomprehensible; in fact the writing is admirably clear, as befits work by those who teach writing.
However, I have a whinge: not one of the articles looks to me as if it could be edited down to about 1200 words -- which length is the maximum I can take in my books pages in the Saturday Brisbane Courier Mail as a "column" piece -- although several of them look to be suitable for general reading by a literary-minded audience.
Unless someone could be persuaded to edit/rewrite their own work down to 1200 words (I'm well aware of the dangers of trying to truncate scholarly argument for popular consumption, so I have no intention of trying). The three pieces that attract me are those by
Brophy, Mitchell and Webster. Or unless (more realistically) someone could be persuaded to write about 1200 words on the creation of TEXT, the reason for it, the benefits etc etc, all in a format suitable for a books section?
Literary Editor, The Courier Mail
from Simon Pockley
Have just read Nigel Krauth's piece citing Moya Costello. I wrote to her too.
You may be interested to have a look at 'The Flight of Ducks' as a use of a netwroked medium to tell a story or perhps many stories in small chunks.
from Rhonda Whitton
I'm currently compiling the 'Australian Writer's Marketplace', a book targetted primarily at freelance writers and journalists giving them extensive information on where to sell their work, submission information etc..
As well, the book will have a section setting out Australian Tertiary/TAFE courses, literary agents, literary awards and support organisations.
The QWC suggested you might have a listing of Australian Unis having writing related courses. If this is the case, would it be possible to obtain a copy. I will then write to the institutions direct asking them for specific information.
Information about your courses can be sent directly to Rhonda Whitton via her email firstname.lastname@example.org. Eds.
Vol 1 No 2 OCTOBER 1997
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Tess Brady