“Some People Have Been Unkind”: A Workshop on Literary Book Reviewing
In this workshop, you will look at literary book reviewing from aesthetic, ethical, and practical angles, exploring possible approaches for reviewing and discovering what elements are useful in reviews. By examining and discussing samples of different kinds of reviews as well as writing your own, you will discover how writing reviews can help us in our creative practice.
“Some people have been unkind” is what Marilyn Monroe said about her critics. This workshop will look at literary book reviewing from aesthetic, ethical and practical angles. What are the possible approaches for reviewing? What makes for a useful review? How about an entertaining one? Is negative reviewing ethical? How can we balance judgment of quality with the limitations of personal taste? How might writing reviews help us in our creative practice? You'll look at samples of different kinds of reviews, discuss the practical and business aspects of reviewing, do reviewing exercises, and write and critique your own book reviews.
Daisy Fried is poetry editor of the literary resistance journal Scoundrel Time, and author of three books of poems: Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice, named one of the five best poetry books of 2013 by Library Journal, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn’t Mean to Do It, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. She reviews poetry books for the New York Times, Poetry, Threepenny Review and elsewhere, and received Poetry magazine’s Editor’s Prize for a Feature Article for “Sing God-Awful Muse,” an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding. For her poetry, she's received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowship, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Her poems have appeared in London Review of Books, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, Poetry International, Threepenny Review, Best American Poetry and elsewhere. She lives in South Philadelphia and is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.