Discussion → U of Iowa Creative Writing Program offers its writers for 35-year study

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    Ann Bogle
    Aug 07, 05:34am

    I posted the following comments and questions on Gloria Garfunkel's wall (when I realized there was a doctor in the house). She has already answered them. I post them here in case [CASE] anyone else wants to read them:

    Gloria, thanks for your comments on my stories "Unmailed Letter to B'go" and "Meryl Streep Laughed at That." I learned from your comment on "B'go" that the mind in it is fast (though I'm quite sure my body is still slow). Tempo, I guess I might think of it, if I want to avoid a clinical interpretation, tempo as in music. Allegro non troppo. I tried to write an essay in the 90s from the point of view of someone (a writer) writing from inside a labyrinth of variant clinical or social models of diagnosis. I abandoned the essay because it was not possible for me to write from inside that point of view and achieve objective voice.

    Gloria, tempo is a delightful alternative to the code words "manic" and "pressured speech" [you used]--you did not say "hypergraphia"--that cause me to think of neurochemical miscalibration. Still, had you not stated it as you did in your first comment on "B'go," I would not have thought of it: tempo. Temporal. Fiction writing (creative prose writing) (styles, forms, thematics) seem less theorized or finely classified than poetries in art. This leads me to a much wider topic, perhaps one for the forum.

    (comment cont'd) I have long wanted to know why or how writing, common to most and an art for some, became diagnosable in the DSM. I am not an expert, but I have been diagnosed. I have spent only three highly focused and alert hours rapidly scanning the DSM-IV. It has seemed to me that painting, music, dance, sculpture, collage, and academicized abstract poetries are exempt in diagnosis. That may be wrong. I read in a footnote in a book by Kay Redfield Jamison that the writing program at Iowa had conducted a 35-year study of mental illnesses in its graduate students. When I asked a Houston program friend who had also attended Iowa whether she had known that she and her peers were being clinically studied, she laughed. She has a great laugh. She and others I know from Houston who also attended Iowa knew about the study. Yet no talk about it in poetics channels or other literary streams online. I only read it in that footnote.

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