Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Class!

by Jonterri Gadson

So I had my first class: literary journal editing with Jeb Livingood. He actually wrote on the syllabus that this is one of few English classes that can enhance your resume so that was nice to hear. We're going to be learning Adobe InDesign and our final project is to design a book/magazine and have it printed on demand so we'll actually have a hard copy of our book/magazine. I did a search for jobs asking for knowledge of InDesign and there are about 2800 nationwide, 140 in VA. That's cool.

I just have to come up with a project. I could do like a lit journal and get my friends and associates (all of you) to lend me poems/stories that I can use (you'd keep the copyright and all that so you could publish elsewhere and all that). Or I could come up with something completely original. Past students have done cookbooks, put together a book of their own work, a children's book, and even compiled their writing samples all together and made a portfolio of their own work. If anyone has any cool ideas, please do not hesitate to share! The crazier (but somehow still simple) the idea, the better!

So 2 other 1st year MFA poets are in the class with me. It was nice to see their familiar faces upon entering the class. The class is a mix of grad students and upper-level undergrads.

What I loved the most about the class was how Jeb used technology to enhance his lecture. He didn't lecture at all, really. We talked about the future of publishing. It was all very hands-on with examples of Meridian (UVA's lit mag) in various stages of the printing process. He also used youtube clips and recordings from NPR. He made me excited for when I'll get the opportunity to teach. I definitely want to use technology that way, if possible. Those who have started teaching, how is technology being used in your classrooms?

It's crazy now to be in class and really pay attention to how it's being taught. It's like learning about story structure and not being able to read the same or screenwriting changing the way you watch movies, I guess. Except I haven't learned anything about teaching yet lol.

I don't have my poetry workshop until next Monday. I have to drop off copies of my poem this week so it can be workshopped on Monday. I'm ready/anxious to see how the workshop goes. It's what I'm here for!

Please share any ideas that pop into your head for what type of book I might do.

Good luck to everyone who hasn't had orientation or classes yet. I can't wait to hear about it!


  1. That sounds like a really great class! Happy first day!

  2. Sounds like a great class. Jeb's right: people with technology/design tool skills are in high demand. It's nice to see classes at the MFA level that give real world experience. I think that's a more realistic way of looking at the industry too, because how many MFA graduates will be able to get a high paying teaching position right after finishing?

    I think you already learned something about teaching :) I hope your first workshop goes well!

  3. that's awesome that you get to learn InDesign! I would love to have the chance to learn something like that :)

    Maybe you could do some kind of theme for your project? Poems about C-ville or something of the like. That sounds like a lot of fun!

  4. InDesign has served me well. I learned it during an internship two years ago, and it's a huge plus during almost any job search.

    I also like the idea of a C-ville themed project. Especially since you mentioned all the cool random art in the town during a previous post . . . it has definitely caught your fancy!

  5. That sounds like a great class! I'm not a technology person, but I am sure you will learn some very useful skills and have a lot of fun in the process.

  6. Jessie- I'm really liking the C-ville idea. Thank you!! And thank you too, Marita!

    I've got some ideas brewing along those lines now thanks to you all.

  7. I learned InDesign when I was an editor for my school paper, before I graduated. Who knew it was so in demand? Haha

  8. I get to learn Adobe Indesign too! Just found out at my first Fourteen Hills class. That's pretty awesome that you get to put out your own book though. I was reading this interesting collaboration by two poets writing letters back and forth the other day. If there's anyone in the program you really want to work with you could try doing a collaborative project chapbook?

  9. Keely- you asked for it, you got it! lol We'll have to both be sure that we keep our InDesign skills up to par. You've got my mind going about the collab project. I'm thinking of more of a family thing. Thanks for the suggestion!


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