Experimental Writing 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
Writing in all genres breaks conventions of literary form in order to express or produce cultural change. Histories of experimentation continue throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, influencing poetry, prose and new hybrid forms. Discussion of the influence of Dada and Surrealism will lead into an examination of visual texts, including 1950s concrete poetry and later developments in digital writing. The resurgence of modernist techniques such as collage and the cut-up will be traced in later postmodernist twentieth century fiction and poetry. The module explores the work of an international range of writers such as Tristan Tzara, Gertrude Stein, Eugen Gomringer, Georges Perec, Kurt Vonnegut, M. NourbeSe Philip, Caroline Bergvall, Claudia Rankine and Lyn Hejinian. Examples of weekly topics may include reasons for breaking rules; the uses of literary constraints; visual and concrete poetry; contemporary cut-ups; metafiction; psychogeographical writing; experimental translation, and hybrid life writing. Practical experiments in different forms of writing lead to a portfolio of innovative writing and the ability to put it in context.
Excellent Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought
Good: Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
Satisfactory Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times
Threshold • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative
Excellent: Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Excellent levels of originality, vision and depth; striking and thorough engagement with ideas. • Excellent understanding and control of form. • Impressive linguistic control and/or innovation. • Sophisticated understanding of the creative process and assured control of decisions made in writing. • Dynamic work approaching publishable standard.
Good: Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Demonstration of a degree of vitality and originality. • Very good understanding of generic conventions; sound use of structures and forms. • Resourceful use of language. • Sound understanding of the creative process and thoughtful control of decisions made in writing. • Very good work, which at times comes close to publishable standard.
Satisfactory: Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Some attempt at serious exploration of ideas. • Some link between themes and form. Good attempt to engage with form, but this may not be entirely sustained. • Use of language technically proficient, but not always focused. • Some awareness of the creative process and of decisions made in writing. • Good work, but its strengths need to be more fully sustained to reach publishable standard.
Threshold: Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40-49) will show many of the following qualities: • Limited engagement with ideas. • Link between themes and form not always clear. • Limited sense of formal conventions. Inconsistent with regard to linguistic technicalities. • Limited awareness of redrafting and editing process.
- Compare and contrast the work of key figures in twentieth and twenty-first century literary experiment.
- Distinguish and assess the ways in which writers either break literary conventions or invent rules and constraints of their own.
- Engage in critical reflection on the creative process, both individually and in a group.
- Identify and analyse the roles of literary experiment in a range of historical, political and cultural contexts.
- Know how to produce a range of writerly experiments within an agreed framework.
Mid term: Introduction to an experimental text: 1,000 words 40%
Creative portfolio of experimental writing 2,000 words (or equivalent in poetry) plus commentary of 1,000 words 60%