On Craft and Color

May 8, 2017 | 1

“[A]ny discussion of craft does not take place in a vacuum – that race is part of one’s lived experience and how we see ourselves and are seen does impact how and what we write.” Poet Neil Aiken puts together an absolutely indispensable list of texts – books, essays, lectures and beyond – on the craft of writing by writers of color. See also: our own Edan Lepucki‘s impromptu syllabus of craft readings.

is social media editor at The Millions. She lives in Brooklyn where she's currently working on her first novel. Find her online @kirstinbutler, and of course, on The Millions‘ feeds.

One comment:

  1. ““[A]ny discussion of craft does not take place in a vacuum – that race is part of one’s lived experience and how we see ourselves and are seen does impact how and what we write.”

    Subject matter has nothing to do with craft; issues of craft are identical across the total range of possible author-identities. Craft (its demands; its value judgments, et al) will vary according to language, possibly, and era, possibly, but not, correcting for the other variables, according to gender, age or race. Projecting Race as a factor, where it is supremely irrelevant, is one of the troubling manias of the Era, as though we can, somehow, make up for failures in Politics, Economics or Sociology by concentrating all of the serious conversations about Race that we *aren’t* having, under those three headings, where they will trouble us the least: in (eg) Literary Criticism. On the level of Literary Quality, the age/color/gender of the author is an irrelevant distraction. Authorial biography is already too intrusive, regarding Literary Fiction, and Identity Politics only serve to weaponize the problem.

    If a “Writing Consultant” advertized his/her services as a *White* (or Asian or Native American, and so forth) practitioner, my reaction would be to steer clear, to say the least.

    What are the best books on Literary Craft? That’s all we need to know. We need to stop with the Positive Segregation, no matter how appropriate to the Era it may feel at the time…

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *