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Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of August 15 – 22, 2011

Readers write in with words on the 'Write stuff' and tastes on 'America's new culinary renaissance.'

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Words for writers' workshop

I was dissatisfied with the June 27 Focus story, "Writing's fertile ground." The article purportedly set out to discuss "how serious writing [is] doing in an age of Twitter and Mortal Kombat" and instead discusses, not the success of writing as a craft, but that of the Iowa Writers' Workshop in particular.

The article claims that "schools like Iowa ... encourage variety" and furthermore, that this is one reason why writing today is alive and well. How can the piece substantiate this claim by citing the popular success of a science-fiction writer and a TV writer, when science fiction and television scripts are the epitome of the formulaic?

In fact, some readers fear there is a sameness in spirit, subject, tone, voice, style, and technique in today's poetry and prose that may well be a result of the influence of modern writing workshops.


[Editor's note: The original version of this letter incorrectly identified letter writer AliCarmen Carico as an alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.]

Digesting a foodie nation

The July 11 Focus story, "Foodie nation," discusses American fanaticism with food, spinning it as a "cutesy" trend. Rather, I view it as a societal ill: Buying food, preparing food, and eating – constantly thinking about food – has become a national disorder. The wisdom of Socrates is better followed: "Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat."


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