TICKER: #ThisShouldConcernYou: Toni Morrison offers free writing courses

In the global economy, skills are everything. Whether or not you get a job, or create a job, depends on your level of skills, and communicating is always important. How well you perform isn’t just about your resume’, it’s also about how well you can communicate your story, or your product, and that relates to how well you write.

Luckily, the advent of open source culture allows you to learn to write from the best. Gone are the days when you’d have to invest in an expensive writing course in order to learn how to be a better writer. Now it’s all free online.

For example, Open Culture reports:

 The Washington, DC-based non-profit Academy of Achievement—whose mission is to “bring students face-to-face” with leaders in the arts, business, politics, science, and sports—has archived a series of talks from an incredibly diverse pool of poets and writers. They call this collection “Creative Writing: A Master Class,” and you cansubscribe to it right now on iTunes and begin downloading free video and audio podcasts from Nora EphronJohn UpdikeToni MorrisonCarlos FuentesNorman MailerWallace Stegner, and, well, you know how the list goes.

And Toni Morrison isn’t the only brilliant African-American writer offering advice on writing online for free. There is advice from poet laureate Rita Dove as well. Some people will remember Rita Dove because of her methodical take down of Helen Vendler, who wrote a racist critique of Dove’s editing of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.  

In the essay, Dove eviscerated Vendler, a critic, writing, “It is astounding to me how utterly Vendler misreads my critical assessment of the Black Arts Movement, construing my straightforward account of their defiant manifesto as endorsement of their tactics; she ignores a substantial critical paragraph in which I decry the fallout from the movement (“Against such clamor and thunder, introspective black poets had little chance to assert themselves and were swept under the steamroller,” I write in my introduction) and instead focuses on that handy whipping boy, Amiri Baraka, plucking passages from his historically seminal poem “Black Art” in which he denigrated Jews, thereby slyly, even creepily implying that I might have similar anti-Semitic tendencies. Smear by association…sound familiar? I would not have believed Vendler capable of throwing such cheap dirt, and no defense is necessary against these dishonorable tactics except the desire to shield my reputation from the kind of slanderous slime that sticks although it bears no truth. (I could argue equal opportunity offensiveness by having printed Hart Crane’s “A liquid theme that floating niggers swell”—but perhaps that makes me racist as well.)”

If you’re going to learn to write from Toni Morrison and Rita Dove,  then you can’t learn to write.

Kulture Kritic

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