Laughing in the Dark

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 6:00pm to Monday, April 29, 2019 - 8:00pm

Class Meetings: Mondays, April 1 – 29 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 205. 

Registration opens December 17, 2018 at 11 AM. ***SOLD OUT***

Humor is the oven mitt that enables us to handle material that might otherwise scorch us. Humor invites both writers and readers to grapple with subject matter they might normally find off-limits. Its disruption of expectation can surprise us into empathy, into connection, into a release from habitual response. Humor lingers, its guerrilla tactics infiltrating our thinking long after the book is closed. In this class we’ll examine how contemporary writers such as George Saunders, Ali Smith, Lidia Yuknavitch, Alison Bechdel and others use humor to shine a light on charged situations. Over four weeks, through readings, discussion, and writing in and out of class, we will hone our abilities to use humor for maximum effect. We will also address the ethics of humor. Are certain events or ideologies too charged to laugh about, no matter how deftly handled? Is humor most effective when it disrupts customary assumptions? How do we puncture commonly held beliefs that we ourselves share? Can we deflate our self-importance as authors to stoop for the big laughs, and should we? Though our focus will be prose, writers in any discipline are welcome. Come to this class prepared to write, to discuss, and to enjoy some serious laughter.