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

27 September 2021

Posted by Matt L.T. Smtih

City Planning - MAST Collective Blog #1

What was once Mayflower Creative Writers is back, with a shiny new name and a shiny new building, our writers now coalescing as the MAST Collective. For this session, we have a new way of operating taking place in the physical confines of MAST, the Mayflower Studios our shiny new home, whilst simultaneously occupying the virtual space we have over the last year and a half, keeping our Zoom room open. This gives us both a physical and a digital space for our writers to come together in. Working in a hybrid fashion for the moment truly means a lot to me, as someone who is immunosuppressed continuing to have spaces that can be accessed both physically and virtually is extremely important and I’m so grateful to Mayflower and Antosh for providing us with that space. With that in mind, the places that we inhabit is very much a key theme for this term, our little nooks, where we reside, where our writing lives, whether that’s our homes or out in the world. This term we are building a town.

We start by looking at ‘Assumptions’ by Richard Hugo from This Triggering Town. Hugo wrote ‘Assumptions’ with the notion that every writer has their own interior “town” from where our writing springs. Hugo talks about the town and its “assumptions,” how he is placed there and connects with the world, be it as the towns only stranger or someone who has lived there all their life and should have left long ago. How do our assumptions lay the foundation for a world? Does the hermit who lives in a shack on the outskirts reside in the town that is “closely knit” or the town “where at best relationships are marginal?” What assumptions lead to his existence? Is he apart from the town or is his isolation what the town truly represents? Through sketching out these assumptions Hugo provides a metaphorical manual for us to explore how our writing can exist in a place. What assumptions underpin our writing? How do those assumptions form a world? 

We are tasked with writing in these terms, thinking about our writing as a town, questioning who lives there? Where do your ideas come from? What kind of buildings do they inhabit? What’s the architecture like? 

We next look at Ella Frears sublime ‘Hole Manifesto’ a manifesto for holes which dares to ask the important question: Is the centre of a Party Ring consumed along with the Party Ring? From this we are tasked with writing a manifesto for an object of our own. 

Over the course of this term everyone will be adding to a padlet, a resource that we’ll be using to share our ideas about our towns, and where our writing lives. Looking forward to seeing what everyone has to offer!


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