Disorienting the Essay: Finding Form in Personal Nonfiction

*Enrollment for this class opens December 6, 2016. SOLD OUT. Registration at this link is closed. 

Class meetings: Eight Mondays, 6-8pm, from January 23 to March 20, 2017 (excluding March 13), in the University of Arizona Poetry Center Alumni Classroom 205. 

What is the best way to tell a given story? How can we press form to enlarge, deepen or propel the stories we tell?  What levers are there to pull? In this introductory prose course, we’ll read across the creative nonfiction spectrum, from longform journalism to lyric essays, from narrative memoir to hermit crab essays, exploring how the same story might be told in different ways. Together, we’ll discuss craft elements like chronology, creative research, and narrative distance, considering how these drive the structure and possibilities of a work. Weekly readings will include work by nonfiction writers whose methodologies and practices will be instructive.

Central to this class is a group workshop, each participant submitting an essay of their own for feedback and providing comments on their peers’ work. Through in-class writing, lively conversation, and independent revision, participants in this class will excavate, chisel, and transform their own stories, dynamically seeking the form their personal narratives want to take.