Many e-lit artists belong to the Modern Language Association, the largest advocacy group for scholars and teachers of literature and languages in higher education. We in electronic literature have a rare opportunity to form with other creative writers an official MLA Forum devoted to Creative Writing, “RCWS Creative Writing.” [RCWS = Rhetoric Composition and Writing Studies.] If this proposed Forum can acquire 35 signatures by JUNE 15th, MLA will give access to advocates of creative writing a guaranteed SPEAKING ROLE in MLA governance and at each annual Convention.
Bethany Nowviskie, president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, teaches us by her leadership that bureaucratic change is Archimedes’ Lever. If you’re one of those people who says, “it’s not ‘digital humanities,’ just “humanities,” or who wishes e-literature to find support beyond the digerati — this is one important way to give e-lit a lever in MLA and in higher ed per se.
It’s easy! SIGN THE PETITION to support the creation of this Creative Writing Forum, which will draw together artists publishing in digital, print and hybrid forms. Here are the conditions:
1. You must be a MLA member.
2. You’ll need an account on MLA Commons, which is free and takes just moments to create.
Do you believe in MAKING AS A CRITICAL PRACTICE? Support this Forum and share the petition widely in your circles. This is another great opportunity for e-lit artists and advocates to join superpowers with others articulating a role for MAKING as critical expertise. Wonder Twin powers activate!
If formed, what are RCWS Creative Writing Forum responsibilities?
1. A 5-member Founding Exec Committee will create a letter of application (2-5 pages) presenting the Forum’s goals by 15 September 2014.
2. Those 5 people will create calls for works at subsequent MLAs after the group is approved.
3. The workload will be staggered and balanced among the 5 committee members.
It’s been 40 YEARS since MLA revised its structure specialties or advocacy groups. Gone are the confusing distinctions between MLA “divisions” and “groups”.
Cheryl Ball says: “[I]t was a FIGHT to get [MLA] to even make this group, let alone push forward the creative writing forum within it. Most MLAers assume [creative writers] just go to AWP [Association of Writers and Writing Programs]. And they might, but I think the real theoretical work of e-literature happens at MLA instead (as far as *big* conferences go).”
To quote another superhero: Make it so.