Writing and Literature News

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."

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems
University of California Press, 2011
Hardcover, 344 pages, $34.95

An essential collection of poems by Michael McClure, longtime CCA faculty member and 2005 recipient of CCA's honorary doctorate of fine arts. It contains the most original, radical, and visionary work of a major poet who has been garnering acclaim and generating controversy for more than 50 years. Ranging from "A Fist Full," published in 1957, through "Swirls in Asphalt," a new poem sequence, Of Indigo and Saffron is both an excellent introduction to this unique American voice and an impressive selection from McClure's landmark volumes for those already familiar with his work. One of the five poets who heralded the Beat movement in the 1955 Six Gallery reading in San Francisco, McClure reveals in his poetry a close kinship to Romanticism, Modernism, Surrealism, and Japanese haiku.

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Any Time Soon
Little Red Leaves, 2010
Paperback, 36 pages, $8

"In the case of Vietnam, what is a reference" wrote Michael Palmer more than 20 years ago in the context of a different war and different time. In Any Time Soon, Gloria Frym (faculty in Writing and Writing and Literature) writes from the reality that "there is no post war" or external context from which to view our current saturation. Language occurs in the thick of it, taking a "swipe at friendly fire," watching "the poles and their birdhouses." Yet, as in this line, where political obsession twists towards avian respite, Frym's lines torque from exasperation, and critique, to tenderness. Or, to put it another way, she writes "I would like to find money / you didn't know I had / Under my pillow in an unmarked envelope / on a rose marked High Octane Stocks / Can you handle this?"

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 by Jim Norrena

ENGAGE: Queer Comics Project students curated a show of original comic artwork at San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum

CCA is no stranger to branching out in various genres when it comes to the arts. The college's undergraduate Writing and Literature curriculum is no exception. In spring, the ENGAGE: Queer Comics Project course provided graphic novel enthusiasts the unique opportunity to not only study writing and graphic design but also to do so within a queer perspective!

Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 by Allison Byers

If you're in the habit of kissing the clock at 11:11, you should know that Eleven Eleven, the literary journal produced by the graduate program of the California College of the Arts, is releasing its eleventh issue this Friday, 11/11/11. To celebrate, Faculty Editor Hugh Behm-Steinberg, who has had the helm since late 2007, has invited one contributor from each issue to read at the release, and one staff member from each respective issue to introduce them.

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