Monday, July 21, 2008

Form and Experiment in the Arts

When I was taking creative writing classes, I eventually learned that I needed to develop a certain form of short story so I could get the kind of feedback I needed on characters, dialogue, plot, etc. When I turned in my more experimental work, I only got comments back on the experiment. So I started writing the experimental work on the side, turning in short stories written the "right way" for my classes. Those who did not ended up dropping out and failed to turn into good writers. WIth me, though, what I learned in the classroom with the classroom style moved over into the experimental work, and informed it, to make that kind of work, which I preferred, better.

The same thing happened with my brother with his art classes. And the same thing happened to those who did not do as my brother had done.

The same is true of any art form. We have to learn how to do it right before we can experiment. To be a good free verse or experimental poet, you first have to be able to write in form. Otherwise, like an artist who can't draw, you're just a scribbler.
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