Welcome to the class blog of Suffolk University’s Creativity and Innovation Honors course on Literary Citizenship. This course is part of the core curriculum at Suffolk, and operates as a problem-solving studio with a myriad of themes and questions driving innovations that rely on the creative process. We believe that creativity is a learned skill, essential to students who will one day enter a world with problems yet to be defined.
Our particular section of CI will attempt to answer questions about the importance and function of artistic community using literary publishing as a lens through which to see how the fine arts rely not only on the quality of art-making itself, but on the collaboration, cross-promotion, and collective enthusiasm of artists and consumers of art. We will immerse ourselves in the world of small presses, literary journals, story slams, blogging circles, and independent bookstores and libraries to learn how words quite literally get out in a culture that struggles to value and sustain writers. We recognize that we must first value and sustain ourselves.
Author and creative writing professor Cathy Day offers these thoughts as a working definition of literary citizenship:
Lately, I’ve started thinking that maybe the reason I teach creative writing isn’t just to create writers, but also to create a populace that cares about reading. There are many ways to lead a literary life, and I try to show my students simple ways that they can practice what I call “literary citizenship.” I wish more aspiring writers would contribute to, not just expect things from, that world they want so much to be a part of.
This blog will serve as the collaboration of 30 students who will each write posts about the literary communities of the Boston area, including those of Suffolk University, the Boston Public Library system, and the Boston Literary District. We will cover literary events, review books by local authors, interview area writers, teachers, booksellers, editors, and agents, and share what we learn about the words written here in this city of deep literary history. We will update the blog weekly, and though we know we will never be able to read, hear, and see it all, we will do our small part to elevate and amplify the literary voices we love.
This class is taught by Suffolk University assistant professor Amy Monticello, author of the essay collection Close Quarters, which was published by the independent press, Sweet Publications. She holds an MFA from The Ohio State University, and has been published in Brevity, Upstreet, The Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been listed as notable in Best American Essays and nominated for Pushcart prizes. She is a contributing writer at Role/Reboot, and currently at work on a memoir about grief, pregnancy, and itinerant living called A New and Magical Life.