Bending the Genres: (Re) Learning the Lyric Essay 6-Week Zoom Class, Starts Thursday, October 12th, 2023
Class Starts Thursday, October 12th, 2023
The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM EDT - 9:00PM EDT / 5:00PM MST - 7:00PM MST).
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Hillary Leftwich, the author of two books, Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (Agape Editions, 2023, new edition) and Aura (Future Tense Books and Blackstone Audio Publishing, 2022), with a third collection of experimental/hybrid forms TBA. Her latest work can be found or forthcoming in The Sun, Santa Fe Writers Project, and The Rumpus.
Learn more about Hillary in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.
Writing envy: it’s a thing. In this workshop, we will explore a fun, fascinating, accessible writing genre that draws from forms of nonfiction and poetic elements—freeing us from traditional forms; we will create new work that looks and sounds like nothing you’ve written before.
In this workshop, we’ll reconfigure the traditional structure of the lyrical essay. By reading works by Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Jenny Boully, Dodie Bellamy, David Rattray, and others, we will expand our exposure to the broad field of the lyric essay with an emphasis on structure, voice, integrating research, and other aspects of artful nonfiction storytelling.
This class is well-suited for intermediate or advanced writers who are engaged in writing personal essays. Each class will consist of weekly reading discussions, in-class writing exercises, craft talks, and discussion while unlearning the traditional forms, producing new or breaking down current work, and workshop your own writing projects.
Because each class is tailored to the needs of the group, assignments and topics will vary.
Week 1 - What is the lyric essay? Participants will be introduced to the concept of the lyric essay, its history, its scope, and what distinguishes it from other prose forms. As a related topic, we will consider the political uses of the lyric essay.
Week 2 - Braiding This week, we will concentrate on the technique of ‘braiding’, whereby different topics and/or narrated episodes can be woven together to create a richly-textured essay.
Week 3 - Hermit Crab This week, participants will be introduced to the ‘hermit crab’ essay, in which the writer uses a pre-existing form as a structure for their material.
Week 4 - Collage Building on the work of the previous three weeks, we will look at lyric essays that use various techniques and registers side by side to create a collage effect.
Week 5 - Notes, margins, and erasures This week, we will look at lyric essays, which are responding to, commenting on, or subverting other texts through techniques such as annotation and erasure.
Week 6 - We will spend this week uncovering even more of the lyric form to play with and examining how the lyric essay acts as a form of resistance.
- Working in multiple modes of expression.
- Finding nuanced ways to face the blank page and to handle difficult, complex subject matter.
- Experimenting with organizational strategies.
- Producing a complete lyric essay and at least one chapter of a hybrid memoir.
SELECTED COURSE TEXTS:
Course texts will be provided by Hillary as PDFs or Google shared docs from craft books and anthologies, including A Harp in the Stars, Bending Genres: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, Family Resemblance, authors John D’Agasta, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, Maggie Nelson, and others.
"This course was very useful to my manuscript project, and I appreciate the resources that Hillary used and shared about this memoir methodology." -Former Student
"The writing prompts helped to silence my inner critic. The number of different types of prompts helped to get different types of writing. I also loved the encouragement to share without judgment." -Former Student
"The in-class writing prompts were great." -Former Student
"Hillary was warm and gracious, the creative flash prompts were fantastic, and the sample pieces were great." -Former Student
"Loved the teacher, Hillary, and the class!" -Former Student
"The reading lists Hillary shared were most helpful. I got a wealth of information from the research she has done into this form." -Former Student
"I thought Hillary's feedback was great, and she provided a supportive space for all participants. Her homework questions, in particular, always seemed to be spot on, and this was a seminar where I feel my writing actually advanced." -Former Student
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!
- Instructor: Hillary Leftwich
- Class Starts Thursday, October 12th, 2023
- The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM EDT - 9:00PM EDT / 5:00PM MST - 7:00PM MST).
Instructor Hillary Leftwich is the author of two books, Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock (Agape Editions, 2023, new edition) and Aura (Future Tense Books and Blackstone Audio Publishing, 2022), with a third collection of experimental/hybrid forms TBA. She owns Alchemy Author Services and Writing Workshop and teaches creative writing at several universities and colleges along with Lighthouse Writers, a local nonprofit for adults and youth. She teaches Tarot and Tarot writing workshops focusing on strengthening divination abilities and writing. Her latest work can be found or forthcoming in The Sun, Santa Fe Writers Project, and The Rumpus.