Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

The Pen and the Sword: Summit on Creative Writing and Violence

Posted by bgsuenglish on April 26, 2007

Given the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, concerns have surfaced about Sueng-Hui Cho’s work in his creative writing classes, and the function of the creative writer and the creative writing community. What effect will this tragedy have on written creativity, where should lines be drawn, if at all, and what influence do other forms of art have on these questions?

Join members of the Department’s creative writing community as they consider the following questions and issues:

*Workshop Privacy: When is it OK to share a fellow workshoppers work with others? And which others — mental health professionals, the media, law enforcement?

*Red Flags in the Workshop: Should disturbing content be treated as a red flag by a teacher or by workshop members? If so, when?

*Beginning Writers and Their Purviews: Beginning writers often resort to shock value to gain interest from their audiences, from confessional sex poems to violent movie-type plots in stories. When do we need to be concerned about this type of content? Is it normal?

*Creative Writing in the Media: How are creative writers portrayed in the media? What parts of of our image are justifiable, and what parts are inaccurate? Specifically, how has media coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings treated creative writers?

* An Editor’s Perspective: Editors of literary magazines get hundreds of disturbing submissions each year, many as equally disturbing as those penned by the VT gunman. Some feel that creative writing teachers are supposed to be good citizens and intervene in the classroom for the good of the larger community. Where does an editor fit in? What is an editor’s role when disturbing work crosses the threshold?

*Censorship: Is self-censorship dangerous? Is it dangerous for schools and campuses to censor art in the wake of the VT tragedy? What should our response be as creative writers? Where is the line between free expression and public safety?

Our discussion will take place on Tuesday, May 1st at 1:00PM in Room 207, in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Refreshments will be provided by Mid-American Review.


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