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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

27 April 2020

Posted by Matt L T Smith

Head, Heart

We dive right in to our second Zoom session, recounting our weeks to one another, describing them this time as if they were desserts. As always, there is a range to choose from on our dessert menu: a lime cake, something that is abjectly pleasant to eat but has some kick, if my week was a dessert my dessert would be dinner, my last week was a slightly overcooked strawberry pavlova, angel delight (a bowl of ground paste/slop,) and today’s house special: the broccoli in the jelly. You’ve gotta get that fibre in somehow, right? 


We kick our first exercise off by looking at Lydia Davis, who Antosh describes as writing “short stories that you listen to and you’re like was that a story?” Today we look at her poem ‘Head, Heart’ which puts the head in conversation with the heart, with mixed results as “the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.” A sentiment I’m sure we’ve all felt at one time or another. Spring-boarding off this text our first exercise is to write about two objects that have a relation (or perhaps don’t have a relation.) Subsequent prompts come quickly and Antosh quickfires in two more prompts over the course of the exercise to complicate and confuse the writing, logically progressing to having our writers make a scene between the two objects before returning to a short story from Lydia Davis and pushing our writers to write from a confused voice. Our writers are encouraged to change the voice between first, second and third person, and switch tenses if they wish. On the exercise our writers remarked that they “couldn’t stop editing, which ran counter to confusion,” a “controlled confusion.” One writer found their piece became very stream of consciousness, and that all three states of confusion tied into each other in the end. 


And this is where we wrap, in a place of confusion. I look forward to seeing where we stumble to next.

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