Writing and Literature News

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Matt Silady loves teaching, storytelling, and drawing. And as CCA's unofficial "Professor of Comics," he gets to do all three every day. Silady's passion for his job is infectious. It is truly a calling, and it explains why every fall and spring semester course he's ever taught as part of both the college's undergraduate Writing and Literature Program and the MFA Program in Writing has been full to capacity.

"Any day that I can spread the word and show people what comics can do, it's a good day," admits Silady, whose plans are afoot to greatly expand CCA's graduate and undergrad comics curriculum to offer more opportunities to students interested in graphic storytelling.

Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Equal of the Sun
Scribner, 2012
Hardcover, 448 pages, $26

Legendary women -- from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots -- changed the course of history in the royal courts of 16th-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. Equal of the Sun, a novel by Anita Amirrezvani (Writing faculty) is a tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran.

Her protagonist is Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi. Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.

Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by Rachel Walther

When CCA alumni (and married couple) Kevin Krueger and Kristin Olson (both Individualized Major 2011) were looking around the Bay Area for an affordable studio the year after graduation, they found their dream space at 1158 Howard Street in San Francisco, formerly the home of leather bondage shop Stormy Leather.

There was just one problem: With its multiple ground floor rooms, basement areas, and loft, it was simply too large for their needs. "We didn't know what to do at first with that much space," remembers Krueger. But then the answer presented itself: They opened up their more-than-enough studio to a larger community of friends and colleagues. Staring in January 2012, the newly named Alter Space began hosting a series of exhibitions, workshops, and live performances.

Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Jim Norrena

In the following interview, Writing and Literature and MFA Program in Writing faculty member Matthew Iribarne discusses his recent experience teaching CCA's ENGAGE: Teaching Creative Writing graduate course (spring 2012).

Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Jim Norrena

CCA's MFA Program in Writing and the Center for Art and Public Life launched a pilot course in the spring, called ENGAGE: Teaching Creative Writing. The course marks the first partnership between the graduate Writing Program and Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), an urban, public charter school housed within the Fox Theatre's administrative offices in downtown Oakland.

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Chris Bliss

David Sedaris [photo: Anne Fishbein]

Best-selling author and NPR humorist David Sedaris will appear at a special benefit reading for California College of the Arts (CCA) on May 3, 2012, at Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus. The evening will include a reading from new and unpublished material, a book signing, and, for sponsorship donors, a VIP cocktail party with the author at Berkeley Art Museum. Proceeds will benefit the CCA Scholarship Fund.

Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong: A Novel
St. Martin's Press, 2012
Hardcover, 368 pages, $25.99

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong is a novel by Writing and Literature chair Aimee Phan about reverse migration, the new American immigrant story. Cherry Truong's attempt to reconnect to her mother's family reaches around the world, from America to Vietnam to France, and reinvents what she knows of her family's history and her world. It is a story of loyalties, histories, and identities, exploring multiple generations of the Truong and Vos families and touching on the events of the Vietnam War, cultural assimilation, reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption.

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

10,000 Wallpapers
Brooklyn Arts Press, 2011
Paperback, 40 pages, $8

This is a new chapbook of poems by Matt Shears, a faculty member in Writing and Literature, Writing, and Critical Studies. Cathy Park Hong, author of Dance Dance Revolution, says, "This long lyric is full of brute terror and bucolic beauty, exploring individual consciousness unmoored by our present 'thundering interconnectivity'; 10,000 Wallpapers chronicles 'the everyman meandering through this digitized countryside,' questioning how we can truly inhabit the world when reality has become denatured by the image. The speaker in this poem sings like Prufrock, in a lyric that is searing and true, as he searches for the possibilities of pure utterance and perception amidst what is manufactured."

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