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Shannon Holman
Brooklyn, NY
"amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary"
Interests: shorthand, gardening, neuroscience, antique encyclopedia for children, Burmese baskets
Recent Activity
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God's dice always have a lucky roll. ~Sophocles, Fragments l, 763 To round out the week, let's play some dice. Your assignment is to fold several paper cubes (here's a pdf template, and here's an online tool for generating printable word dice.) Write a word or phrase on each side of each die. I usually have six verbs on one die, six adverbs on another, and so on, so that by rolling several dice at a time I end up with a complete sentence. I don't reckon he used this technique, but one of my favorite poems, by the Hungarian... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Every time I go to Myanmar*, my first stop is the Yangon book market, which consists of several "shops"—blankets spread on the thronged sidewalk—piled with hundreds of volumes, many of which are tattered English primers dating from the days of colonial rule. In the same way that a conversation with a non-native English speaker can make the whole language seem fresh, even the simplest declarative sentences in these old books can feel full of significance and portent. Today's assignment is to write a mystery novel in the shape of a poem using as many of the following sentences and phrases... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Great artists steal. For today's assignment, let's continue to play with the notions of indeterminacy and appropriation as tools to combat the twin demons of The Anxiety of Influence and The Blank Page (which I find it oddly helpful to picture as masked wrestlers). Here's a grab bag of techniques you can try: Blind tranlation. David Lehman introduced me to this technique, and Language Hat has a good write-up with several examples. Basically the task is to "translate" a poem into English from a language you don't know, relying solely on your homophonic or visual associations instead of any dictionary... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks to Stacey and the BAP blog for the chance to be this week's guest blogger. I thought I'd use this space and time to suggest some writing assignments and invite you to post your responses on your own blogs, letting us all know about it via trackback or in the comments — Shannon (no relation) Holman I'm just back from a week spent on the former campus of Black Mountain College, so today's assignment will feature some of those giant ghosts. See how many of these prompts you can respond to in a single piece: John Cage appeared on... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2011 at The Best American Poetry