This session will emphasize the importance of the image in poetry. We will look at a few short poems. I will discuss Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” and William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow” to show how images work in poetry. I will then go on to talk about my own poems, “fence” and “glass city”, which come with accompanying photographs. I will explain how visual images can be used as a prompt for writing poetry. I will then provide a handout of a few photographs of Hong Kong with a few writing prompts so as to encourage the students to write short poems of their own.
This session will explore character in the short story. Any character is nothing more than a collection of words. Why then is the character believable and imaginable as a living, breathing person? We will look at some extracts from some classic short stories to discuss how character is built up and developed. We will begin with such classic stories as Ray Bradbury’s “The Pumpernickel” and Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and then move to a more recent story such as Lorrie Moore’s “How to Become a Writer”. We will also look at a story by a writer based in Hong Kong. Xu Xi’s “Famine” talks about the experiences of a young woman who teaches English in Hong Kong. In all these stories the characters are nothing more than collections of words and yet they stay with us and are sometimes more real to us than people we have met in the street or at parties.