Nonfiction as Reconstruction: Writing from Memory

Registration at this link is open until class is filled.

Class meetings: Six consecutive Tuesday evenings, October 18 to November 22, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 207.

The writing of nonfiction is, at its core, an act of reconstruction. We reconstruct places and historical moments, we reconstruct scenes and characters, but above all, we reconstruct memories. In this seminar and prose writing workshop, we will examine nonfiction as a practice that encourages engagement with our own personal memories, the memories of others, and the collective memories shared by societies at large. 

Throughout the course, we will explore techniques for constructing narrative from materials gathered from private and public archives. Participants will be invited to personally examine ways in which their own memories are received and documented by maintaining a “memory portfolio” collecting associative materials such as photographs, journal entries, newspaper articles, and oral histories. 

Readings will include works by W.G. Sebald, Annie Dillard, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Svetlana Alexievich, and Primo Levi. Each class session will devote approximately equal time to discussions of craft and instructor-led group critique of work submitted by participants.