Saturday, July 21, 2007
Why English Departments ≠ Fiction
There's this woman I like. She'd be happy I wrote that. She's a writer and a baker. We talked about MFAWs connected to English departments. Her side amounts t'this: English departments're steeped in their own dogma with very little room for art. Their understanding of literature has happened; is not happening. Tying a writer in a noose of an English overlord, with fiction somewhere inside, squelches her into a box formed out of the discarded shell of a canon: somehow representing literature, but actually only representing the West.
I's astonished. She smiled, a little nod came. I didn't think she gaveacrap about fiction. What'd you expect, she said, I was an English professor before Post-Colonial Lit. Ah! And there it was. Post-Colonial lit. There: the marginalized few, the few I'd based my return argument upon.
She interrupted my gawk with Orientalism and Said. I shut up, 'nquickly.
Our conversation came to true lull later, somewhere around Judith Butler, when I realized I, like M. am a big lit snob. I realized, as well, th'academy w/couldn't/won't allow room for a writer to create art free of th'canon.
MFA programs attached to English are, then, not about fullness of art and reflection but imitation and more imitation of th'canon they tout.
Our answer: (after espresso) ART SCHOOLS. This's where text and story can turn into anything and everything th'canon w/couldn't/won't do. An MFAW from art school also introduces a writer to interactions with the rest of th'Art world. This comes in handy if you write Anything. For m'money, m'time, and my sanity, I'd go to Med School, I mean Art School, when pursuing an MFA in writing. You'll find all the 'heady' lit courses and theory you want, but you'll also be able to have supper with a successful painter, architect, etc..
She gave me the recipe for a good zucchini bread after awhile and I left.