This week, ASFA-CW’s Ashley M. Jones is one of sixteen Bash Fellows taking part in The Conversation, a three-state (MS, AL, LA) tour of readings and workshops dedicated to examining and expanding notions of Diasporic Blackness for young writers in the American South and beyond. All week, she’ll be engaging her ASFA-CW students from afar, filing field reports, exhorting them to engage some of the concepts she’s considering during the fellowship, and we thought it would be fun to let the outside world in on that exchange. Here’s Ashley’s missive from the second day of the journey. Ever and always the writing teacher, she offers up a few evocative writing prompts (some of her own devising and some from her fellow Bash Fellows) for her students back at the ASFA-CW ranch.
Here at ASFA-CW, we have some impressive faculty members (if we do say so ourselves). They teach, they write, they engage the world in interesting ways.
Case in point: Kwoya Fagin Maples.
Among many other contributions to our department, Kwoya’s been the driving force behind our 3-D Poetry initiative — a project that allows our students to blend poetry and visual art, and to exhibit their work in local art galleries. It’s been a boon to our students’ understanding of their own creative processes, and the work they’ve produced has been a big hit with gallery-goers.
Kwoya’s own creative projects are really taking off right now, as well. She recently organized a successful poetry marathon and protest at the monument to J. Marion Sims outside the Columbia, S.C., capitol building. Sims — known as the “father of modern gynecology” — conducted experimental surgeries on enslaved women in the antebellum South, without anesthesia or their consent. Kwoya’s new manuscript, a collection of poems that seeks to give voice to the women themselves, was recently a finalist for the prestigious AWP Prize (among other accolades its already received
prior to its publication) and will be published in the fall of 2018 by the University Press of Kentucky!
We recently volleyed a few questions back and forth (cuz that’s what poets do) — about Kwoya’s work and her creative process, about the role of poetry in contemporary society, and about how the personal always seems to find its roundabout way into the poetical (political, historical…). Here’s the transcript: Continue reading
ASFA-CW faculty member Kwoya Maples is a force majeure. To wit: she reads (above) her poem, “I Took the Wind Back,” and (here) a link to a new poem of hers — “This Poem Will Resist with Joy” — just out in Open Letters Monthly: an Arts and Literature Review. And if you’re in the Lexington, KY area at the tail end of this month, she’ll be reading at Centre College.
Check out this excellent review of Jeanie Thompson’s latest collection, The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller. Jeanie will be visiting ASFA-CW on Thursday to conduct a master class with our students in the afternoon and then to give a reading/book signing (free and open to the public) at 7 p.m.
For the past several school years, ASFA-CW seniors have teamed up with seniors in the Dance department’s choreography class to create collaborative pieces that incorporate language and movement. In some ways, the two creative processes — dance and creative writing — couldn’t be more different. One takes place in a mostly solitary and interior way; the other occupies three-dimensional space, invariably in coordination with other artists. And yet this project never fails to expand and refine our notions of what it means to be a creative person. While our primary aim with this exercise is to foster that sort of expansion in our respective processes, it’s always a treat to see the “(semi-)finished” products the students create. This was the first year we invited all the other students in both departments to the culminating presentation, and it was a smash success — proven by the slideshow above, which commemorates the occasion. #Collaboration! #CreativeRisk!
Meet University of Alabama Press author Jeanie Thompson
Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 7:00 pm
ASFA Lecture Hall & Lobby
Join us for a spellbinding reading and reception on Thursday evening, November 10, in the Alabama School of Fine Arts’ Creative Writing Lecture Hall. As part of the Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ Series, Jeanie Thompson, poet and educator, will entertain you with excerpts from her latest book, The Myth of Water, Poems from the Life of Helen Keller. At the reception immediately following the reading, enjoy an array of tempting treats, accompanied by a refreshing, infused water bar, as the author signs her newest book.
— Ashley Michelle Jones