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Liz Cashdan, Author at The Open College of the Arts

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Liz Cashdan

What can poetry do? thumb

What can poetry do?

I’ve been thinking of what poetry can and can’t do in a week which saw both  Amanda Gorman, the USA youth poet laureate, performing her poem at the inauguration ceremony of President Biden in Washington, and a reading by the ten poets short-listed for the T.S. Eliot prize in the UK. The German philosopher, Theoodre […]

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Writing in 2020: Multimodal writing and the pandemic thumb

Writing in 2020: Multimodal writing and the pandemic

I wonder how much the coronavirus pandemic has affected our writing and our reading; and equally our learning and teaching. Of course as OCA Creative Writers (tutors and students) we are used to the idea of distance and absence of contact.

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Inventing the truth and bargaining with the light thumb

Inventing the truth and bargaining with the light

I don’t know how may of you managed to get to the Hay Festival via zoom but the three trips I took were well worth those (imagined) miles from Bristol to Hay on Wye across the Severn and then north; and am I in Herefordshire or Wales when I get there? It all depends. Makes me think of Philippe Sands’ East West Street  where he writes about Lvov, Lviv and Lemburg – all the same town. At least Hay is still called Hay whichever country it’s in. But it’s a good example of how slippery the truth of history and story-telling is.

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Cartography and writing thumb

Cartography and writing

I recently took part in an OCA trial of a short course on Creative Education. I guess I was a jump ahead most of the time having been an English teacher in the seventies and eighties when English teachers were experimenting with creative ways into learning and teaching. One of the suggestions at that time  was to move away from the idea of teaching being a transmission of information and think of it instead as transformation in the learner’s understanding

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Writing & illustrating – A tutor & student co-operative project thumb

Writing & illustrating – A tutor & student co-operative project

I’d like to report on a co-operative project between myself, a writer/tutor and poet on one hand, and Dorothy Flint, a second year illustration student on the other..  We worked together over several months. The co-operative project grew out of Dorothy’s need to find a client for her illustration course and my need to find an artist who wanted a client to make a visual contribution to the  poems I had already written between 2015 and 2018.

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Coming to your senses  thumb

Coming to your senses 

I’ve been thinking about the senses recently. Kit de Waal claimed  in a Guardian interview about her reading habits that audio books were now her preferred way of reading.

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How to sequence a sequence thumb

How to sequence a sequence

“We looked for connecting themes, for a narrative, for a chronology.. Having achieved an order that I have to admit at first I doubted was going to be possible, I began to feel quite pleased with the way this random selection of poems had turned into a sequence.”

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Ekphrastic Poetry thumb

Ekphrastic Poetry

It’s easy to look at a painting, for example, Van Gogh’s yellow bed and chair,, and respond with words. You might write a short story or a narrative poem about someone, possibly Van Gogh himself, who lived here. You might write a poem reproducing what you see in the painting, or something slightly more philosophical about bedrooms and their owners. But what do you write when the painting you are looking at is abstract?

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Women’s History Month: Aemilia Lanyer thumb

Women’s History Month: Aemilia Lanyer

Since March is Women’s History Month it seems like a good time to celebrate the work of women writers from an earlier age. Fortuitously, as joint editor of NAWE’s Higher Education Journal, Writing in Practice No 5, I read an article by Sally O’Reilly analysing her approach to writing a historical novel, Dark Aemelia,  (Myriad Editions, 2015) about Shakespeare and his relationship with Aemilia Lanyer, a contemporary poet, and a possible identity for the Dark Lady of his sonnets.

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Writing Tales: Amos Oz (1939 – 2018) Israeli writer of novels, tales, poems and essays. thumb

Writing Tales: Amos Oz (1939 – 2018) Israeli writer of novels, tales, poems and essays.

Amos Oz, who died in December 2018,  has always been an important writer for me, not only because of his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock, but also because of his multi-part solutions to writing, whether it be with reference to subject matter, context, genre or viewpoint.

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