Johnny Payne uses virtual reality experiences in his courses. These happen wearing headsets for a 3D journey, or on laptops in a high-resolution 2D version. The first, the art-gallery-to-underworld "Odyssey," is part of a long-form course in poetry which invites the student to take a journey through the Aegean islands of Odysseus to prompt the writing of a wide variety of poems.
The second, the densely-textured "Backslide" (a sample of it featured in this video), is part of a playwriting course in which students write a dramatic work in backwards order, after floating through the many absurdist-yet-realist, neo-Shakesperean rooms, observing or touching the many objects.
The third, in development, is "Quartet," part of a fiction writing course. Students follow specific written scenarios into this graphic-novel world. They become collaborators in finishing (verbally) four graphic-novel stories that have been been begun by the visual artists.
We are the only MFA in Creative Writing Program anywhere to use this immersive technology. It is only one more example of the multiple approaches to imaginative writing that make our MFA unusual.
"Backslide" and "Quartet" were co-developed and produced by Payne, Andy Campbell of Dreaming Methods, and Mexican artist Nury Más. "Quartet" was developed by Payne, Campbell and Washington artist Jess Hara. "Odyssey" was developed by Payne and Kimo Oades.