Workshop Descriptions

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spring 2016

I, poetry

The primary goal of this course is to create original poetry that confronts, either directly or indirectly, lived experience. Our focus will be on the creation of poems that incorporate the confessional belief in the self as a worthy subject for exploration. We will examine the notion of Post-Confessional poetry, focusing primarily on the use of “I.” How can we, as poets, construct autobiographical material with a critical eye towards the nature and limits of the self? Students will draft new poems, discuss work with their peers and instructor, and discuss and generate new work that takes the self as subject.

Instructor: Brandon Courtney

Crafting Short Fiction

The primary goal of this workshop is to compose new works of short fiction. Within a supportive online environment, students will share their work and offer constructive feedback to their peers. Course readings will introduce techniques for developing a sense of language, structure, and character. Students will be asked to write a number of small pieces based on instructor prompts, as well as one complete short story. In addition, students are invited to share a piece of writing (of any genre) that they admire. By examining work that attracts us, we learn more about our individual goals for writing and can better help one another stay focused. This workshop is open to writers of all ability levels. The instructor is happy to discuss work both inside and outside the workshop throughout the eight weeks of class.

Instructor: Airin Miller

Writing a Life

“We might say the essayist breaks life into pieces,” writes Sara Levine, “but then we would miss the essayist’s role in making—as opposed to simply reflecting and shaping—that life…the essayist assumes there is no real life, but makes one. Again and again and again.” In this workshop we will read and write nonfiction, and will practice making life on the page, again and again. Working within a supportive online community of writers, we will explore our own stories and cast our nets wide. Whether writing traditional memoir, literary journalism, personal essays, or anything else, we will mine the material of our lives: our deeply-held memories, our individual contexts, our driving passions and obsessions. We will read selections from The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction, and will write and revise our own work, composing several short drafts as well as two longer pieces.

Instructor:  Martha Park