Garry MacKenzie, Author at The Open College of the Arts
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Garry MacKenzie


What is your tutor up to? – Garry MacKenzie

In some of my previous blogs I’ve explored writing about the environment, translation, and building on other texts in your own writing. These are all issues which I’ve been thinking about for my poetry book Ben Dorain: a conversation with a mountain, which has just been published. In this blog I’ll explain what the book is about, and share what I’ve learned from writing it.

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Difficulty in writing: part two

In my previous blog on difficulty I suggested some of the reasons why difficult literature might be worth the reader’s effort. This time I’d like to take focus more on why you shouldn’t always avoid it in your own creative writing.

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Difficulty in writing: part one

Difficulty can actually be a great leveller – it places the responsibility of interpretation on the individual. Instead of being spoon-fed simplistic answers to life’s complexities, the reader has to figure out what they think for themselves.

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Reading short stories: where to start?

Where can you come across new short fiction that gives you a broader sense of what’s possible in the form?

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Reading poetry: where to start?

To all creative writing students: hands up if your tutor has ever recommended you read outside your comfort zone and explore the work of a writer you’ve never read before? 

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What I’ve learned from travelling back in time (in short stories)

What have I learned from reading stories from oral traditions?

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What exactly is erasure poetry?

If visual artists can make collages out of previously-existing materials, and musicians can compose pieces out of sampling and remixing, then why can’t poets ‘remix’ a text through erasure?

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Dusty manuscripts and half-burnt newspapers

‘Sounding like yourself isn’t always the effect you want to go for.’

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Point of view in non-fiction

The things which you’re predisposed to notice, and to respond strongly to, are part of what makes you who you are. Everyone’s subjectivity is different.

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Non-fiction: one thing after another?

When writing non-fiction, look for ways to utilise the skills you’ve learned in fiction writing exercises, and ask yourself how you can make your subject-matter into a story, rather than simply one thing after another.

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