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Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Against the Workshop is the first sustained critique of twenty-first century literary production in America under the MFA/creative writing program infrastructure. Since earlier critics like John Aldridge wrote on the subject, the creative writing regime has become vastly more institutionalized. Publishing has changed, but what does it mean for the quality of fiction and po ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 17th 2011 by Texas Review Press (first published September 1st 2011)
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Joe
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Writers, People who are concerned about literature
I came to this book with an open mind, but I was sure that I would disagree with Shivani on every point. However, Shivani makes a pretty good case for the idea that MFA writing programs have created a conservatism in American fiction. If I had one complaint, it is that the book provides plenty of great arguments with very little evidence. Having widely read many literary journals over the years, I don't need any examples, because I've seen it for myself. If I came to this book cold, however, I m ...more
Dustin Pickering
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shivani's training as a economist has perhaps taught him discipline and resolve in the world of reading. I have no other explanation for the depth of his reading, the insights he shares, and the way he ties all of his insights into socio-economic forces of production. This collection is part Nietzsche, part Guy Debord, with a splattering of Marx. I enjoyed his critique of the "plastic realism" and the forces of the literary world, but what I find the most salutary from the book is he is not simp ...more
V
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
I believe in dangerous art. I believe in revolution.

Tropicalia shunned the cultural puritanism of Bossa Nova and became an artistic movement so dangerous it had to be smashed by the Brazilian fascist government. Does that make Bossa Nova music bad? No, but only by rejecting its limitations could the Tropicalistas achieve revolution.

Early punk rockers’ disdain for Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd is somewhat ironic in a day where the Clash and the Sex Pistols regularly appear alongside their enemies
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Anis Shivani is a fiction writer, poet, and critic in Houston, Texas.

His debut novel, Karachi Raj, will be published in 2013. His other books are My Tranquil War and Other Poems (NYQ Books, 2012), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (C&R Press, Nov. 2012), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), and Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), longlisted for the Frank O'Connor
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