Creative Writing, Class Session 4/7/20

Hello, dear students!

So, Tuesday’s class (4/7) is what we would’ve done on Monday if we were still following the syllabus. For right now, the syllabus is STILL incorrect, so follow the instructions below:

If you haven’t read and critiqued your cohort peers’ Short Story 2 yet, do so ASAP. Everyone should respond with a formal critique (like the ones you’ve done in the past–write the things you’ve enjoyed and the questions you have) by Tuesday, April 7, no later than 11:59 PM. Email the critique to the author AND me at:

DEBRIEF: Fiction v. Nonfiction

Now, on to our debrief about writing fiction. A few of you have posted  Journal 7. If you haven’t yet, no worries. Please share your thoughts on the following: Reflect on your experience with short story writing—good, bad, so-so, and why. Also, compare/contrast your experience with fiction writing to memoir writing. Which do you prefer? Why?


Remember that book of Staceyann Chin’s poetry we all got on our last day together? (Sniff, sniff, sigh…)

Dig that book out and read “Tsunami Rising” on page 64. Then, watch Staceyann Chin read “Tsunami Rising” at BAM.

Comment on this page about the difference between reading and watching Chin’s poetry being read by the author. What did you notice in one but not the other? What ideas did you catch better in reading or watching?

First, I want you to spend some time during spring break simply reading Chin’s poetry in Crossfire. (If you missed that class, there’s a lot of her work online–you’ll have to do a little research, but it’s there!)

Second, after you’ve read a number of her poems, choose at least one of her poems that really means something of you, for whatever reason. Perhaps the story she shares, or simply the word choice. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Third, write a post on our website about that poem, titled “Staceyann and X.” (X is your name.) Tell us why you like this poem in detail (if you must have a word count, I’d say about 150-200 words).

Fourth, I want you to find at least two other poems you’ve fallen in love with in the past, and write a paragraph detailing why you like those poems and post it on our website. Title it “X and X and Me.”

Fifth, and finally, revise Short Story 2, and email it to me at my gmail account for evaluation.

All of this is due by Sunday, April 19, no later than 11:59 PM (that’s just before midnight).

Note: For this class ONLY (you MUST follow whatever your other professors are doing), we are taking the full spring break (April 8-16). Now, that does not mean you don’t have work to do for this class (as you’ve noted above)!

I will be available for consultation on April 13 & 15 during this class’ office hours (11:30-1PM). If those times don’t work for you, we can schedule another time!

11 thoughts on “Creative Writing, Class Session 4/7/20”

  1. The difference between reading and watching about the Tsunami Rising is Stacey read it with a strong passion, emotions and strong personality. Because when I was reading it, I can’t help to read it in monotone way. Where I do not know how the poem should be read since it’s pull of strong words such “violents”, “fuck” and “fury” which indicates this poem should be read out loud. But when I watch Stacey read this poem I noticed that she starts loud then change her tone to soft. As the pattern is more like up and down. One of the Ideas I heard when she was reading the Tsunami Rising is domestic violence or violence against woman. Where she uses the Tsunami Rising to be the voice of those girls who can’t bring themselves to tell the authority about the violence they are facing. Where most of the woman are black. Overall the biggest difference between reading it by yourself vs Stacey reading it is that Stacey give her poem a life. Where us the audience can help to listen as she keep taking our attention with her words and voice showing that she’s a powerful figure to listen on.

    1. Reading Chin’s Tsunami Rising allowed me to understand how the poet feels. She sounds very supportive of the MeToo movement. She is Black so I can understand why she stands up for Black women who are survivors of sexual violence. I caught the ideas better as the poet read her poem out loud. I felt more emotion in the poem watching it than reading the poem on my own. As Chin read her poem, I noticed that she emphasized words such as the words, inspired and we as in black women. I could feel her anger as she said F***. She sounds very open with how she feels. An example would be Chin adding to her lines, in my house, Brooklyn house she could barely afford. She seems like an honest person who is not afraid to say the truth. She also added she will promise to her lines, I will always believe in you. As she read aloud MeToo a few times, I could tell from her tone that she cares for what she believes in.

  2. Chin’s Tsunami has made a big impact on readers mostly in the video because she read it with a strong voice with passion and emotions as well. When reading it in the book you can’t really feel how strong her emotions are and you can’t really have an imagination or understand what she is trying to express. When its a book not many people would stop and listen to what she wishes readers to understand and how she feels but when she reads it in person she successfully grabs everyone’s attention and people finally grasp on how she is feeling and how strong she feels about it.

  3. When i read “Tsunami Rising,” it reminds me of the oppression of women and the discrimination against race in the past. But when Staceyann Chin read her own work, it’s more like she is describing her own stories, or at least she saw this kind of things happened around her. The idea of she trys to express the unfair behaviors against black women in the video is more vivid. Chin even used the excited tone to show her emotions.

  4. The difference between reading and watching Chin’s poetry being read by the author is voice and emotion. When Staceyann Chin read the poetry, she gives a strong emotion and voice throughout the reading. Additionally, she would add some words or phrases that are not in the book to strengthen her reading. When I read, I didn’t have the same emotion and understand the book as deep as Staceyann Chin. The idea that I catch better in watching is the message that Staceyann Chin tries to send out using her book. She gives out a strong sense of black women shouldn’t be treated like how they are treated before.

  5. Well, I thought that the book was very powerful. When I watched the video, I heard soo much passion and expression in her voice. I heard certain things louder than others. Messages that said that women of color are pretty much always at the bottom of the chain. Beaten, enslaved… and I got the perspective of the author. In the video the tone was set, the mood and the intention behind her words. It was clearly communicated to me that this woman of color was tired of all the B.S.

  6. Personally whenever I read a poem or story that doesn’t have any horror in it, I always have a specific voice that I imagine reading the words to me. In horror novels I imagine the voice of someone who sounds frantic and desperate kinda like they’re just starting to freak out, but not quite at that point yet. The voice I imagined as I was reading this sounded more like a calm and collected person who’s trying to inform the listeners. The voice didn’t exactly fit what I was reading, but I couldn’t really find a better voice to read it in. After hearing Staceyann Chin read it, I realized that my bland narration voice couldn’t compare to her tone and articulation. Hearing her words match with her tone is enough to get her point across, it couldn’t be said better by anyone else. I don’t think anyone can read the work of another person with the same exact passion and power that she projects.

  7. Personally I don’t tend to agree with some parts of the poem. Perhaps it was the opening line “but the idiots obsessed with category”. The human mind works off of categorization. Everything is categorized because it references it to what the mind can define it as. An example of this would be a pen. Why is it a pen? What makes it any different from that of say a pencil or an elephant? The same would go for the 2 of the latter. Because these are categorized one could also say stereotypes exists in a similar way. Not every pen is the same but because we categorize it, it is generally known as a pen. Stereotypes of Chinese people would be that we are good at math and that our eyes are tiny. The tiny eyes is pretty truthful because of genetics and the good at math part is probably because it was beaten into us physically and mentally culture-wise. But as I said before, not every pen is the same, but because we have categorized it so, it is a pen. As I continue to read the poem and using what is said this as a reference, you can see that the author Staceyann Chin also does some categorizing of her own. A line such as “Black feminists” could be seen as a category of its own. Through this mindset the poem is seen as highly hypocritical. Though I have mainly only been criticizing the poem and in a way the author, but as I began this post, I said I disagree with some parts, parts as such I do agree with is that I too would “smite every motherf**ker whoever looked at a little girl with lust in his flesh”. Racism and rape do need to stop. Although I don’t believe in feminism what I do believe in is egalitarianism.

  8. When I first read the poem, “Tsunami Rising”, I did not understand what purpose the forward slash was for. I became confused by it when I was reading the poem and some of the things that Staceyann Chin was writing about became confusing to me. When I listened to her read the poem, I became less confused about the purpose of the forward slashes and I believe that I now have somewhat of an understanding of its inclusion. I also realized that she deliberately chose not to read certain stanzas that were present in the book version of the poem. Comparing the two, I realize that Staceyann Chin had more fury in her voice when she read the poem then compared to when I read it myself. From my own reading, I could get a sense of rage from her writing but when I listened to her read the poem herself, it felt as though she was ad libbing the poem herself and that she was speaking from her own heart. I felt like I caught onto what her messages were when I listened to her read the poem. It felt as though she was the representing all of the rage and sorrow that black women had felt from being silenced from speaking their own mind.

  9. Reading “Tsunami Rising” made me feel so intrigued and in awe of how well she put her thoughts together. While reading this, I also felt her anger and frustration on the situation that she was referring to. As a woman, its very easy to relate to these kind of things and constantly having to worry about men approaching you in certain ways fearing that you’ll be abused. However, watching her recite this poem out loud was a lot better and the difference was evident. She was very passionate while reading and I enjoyed the changes of volume and hand gestures. She really set the tone for the poem overall.

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