This is what a writing class with Thurston Moore is like: A look at his notes from Naropa

Categories: Last Night

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There is no way to stretch the word "poet" to fit into something I am even remotely interested in, but when you find yourself in the position to take a poetry/writing workshop from Thurston Moore, you're willing to break out of your cage a little. When Moore took on the task of teaching a workshop at Naropa University for its Summer Writing Program, most were skeptical but still interested in what he'd do. In this case, it was poetry noise, apparently.

On the morning of July 4, twelve of us wandered into an auditorium for a class with the innocuous title of "In Silver Rain With a Paper Key." Nobody, myself included, had any idea what to expect from this. We knew Thurston Moore the Rocker, but nobody really had an idea who Thurston Moore the writer was -- or if he actually existed. It turns out, he has a poetry journal he runs off his record label called Ecstatic Peace, and in a slightly overrun, rambling, three-hour introduction, he revealed that when he initially moved to New York in the '70s, it was not to make music, but rather to be a writer.

It's no surprise that Moore came out on the first day in the defensive position. He was teaching a class full of MFA students who had worked with a wide variety of writers over the years, and who, like myself, mostly took the class because, well, why not?. During his three-hour diatribe, he talked about his history with writing, the poets and authors he'd read over the years, who, by loose proxy or direct contact, influenced Sonic Youth. He was, for the most part, running on autopilot, reciting excerpts from Our Band Could Be Your Life. Then day one was over.

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All of the notes included on the following pages are from Moore's journal.

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6 comments
Donley
Donley

He at least gave insight to a few horror shows of what it is like, even to perform in front of a mass of a raised f-u salute. But the discussion never broke into the elements of performance. There were hints, such as the "Kim Gordon/Sylvia Plath" story he told. Other things i noticed, were his ideas towards the dedication to a performance. 

Wade Sears
Wade Sears

he probably won't return, not because he did not have a good idea about what to discuss in class; but because a writer such as yourself could not get past his day job and only wanted 'gossip'- as you put it - and not really interested in the possibilities of free verse.

also, writing music -noise rock or otherwise, is still writing. 

Donley
Donley

It was a poetry forum. And I'm positive the students understand about music-noise-poetry.(Not all poets strap on a guitar)

I certainly didn't want gossip. But there were stories.   

Thorin
Thorin

Uh, to be perfectly clear here, I didn't ask any questions about his day job during the designated class time, everything was provided on his own accord. 

Kiku
Kiku

I thought Wade was referring to *you* getting past *your day job."

Thorin
Thorin

Oh, so be it, I accidentally read it the other way, regardless, I do want to be clear that I did not 'want' gossip and stories, it was just a large part of the way the class ended up operating -- for better or worse. We clearly didn't get into much of what he had planned.

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