Daniel Saavedra, our Chilean colleague from Escuela de Escritores (Madrid), was recently the official Spanish teacher for the Creative Writing class at the Vienna Poetry School (May, 2016). The course was organised in the context of the EACWP Teachers’ Interchange Programme, supported by Erasmus+. In the following text, Saavedra describes the methodology used over his course and reports his impressions about the pedagogical and cultural relevance of his teaching experience in Vienna
The Creative Writing course took place in two blocks “From words to poetry” and “From microwriting to the narrative” with literary materials from Spanish and Latin American authors, focused on the practice of Creative Writing. Two printed lessons for further study were distributed, classes were conducted over the readings and corrections for practices, and combined the study and writing tasks with deep reflection and debate on the subject matter.
For students, it filled a need that is to teach courses both to natives and translators, whose use of language requires new approaches, also from the side of not only writing and reading . While students were mostly with a tendency to poetry (given to the fact that the Viennese school is specialized in poetry) in their jobs they work in other fields of knowledge (medicine , architecture , psychology … ), so the exercises dealt both playfuly and professionally.
The contrast was very interesting to check. Not only by the diversity of fields (poetry, fiction, journalism ), but also to discover the role towards the society that has the Vienna Poetry School as it is not just a school, but also a meeting place of culture in a broad sense: it carries out graphic exhibitions, participates in the discussion of cultural and sociopolitical works and, also, it is a meeting center for artists from around the world.
The course has served to confirm my personal hypothesis that there can be Creative Writing courses in Spanish addressed to countries which are not Spanish-speaking, there is an audience for it, hence, that is useful and necessary to continue implementing exchanges and creating partnerships that abridge new targets. In the German-speaking area, it would be very interesting to continue seeking partnerships in Germany and Switzerland, where traditionally there is still a largest colony of Hispanic and there is also an active supporter of cultural environment and Spanish language.
On this visit we have seen once again how well activities work involving people from different generations. The age range of participants was very broad what proved to be very enriching for everyone. The presence of native students also helped enrich the discussions and exercises with different accents and with different appreciations of the contents, which enabled to implement multiculturalism for the sake of further learning.
Pedagogical conditions were friendly and full of hospitality. Without a doubt, the highlight was the proximity of the Vienna Poetry School with the publishing world, which lead to have a majority of active participants from the Viennese cultural life to the extend that through the participation of translators and poets the exchange within the class was fully nourished.
Vienna Poetry School / schule für dichtung (sfd)
Escuela de Escritores