Using Lyrical Language 6-Week Open Genre Writing Class (Zoom), Starts Thursday, February 15th, 2024
Starts Thursday, February 15th, 2024
Class will meet weekly via Zoom on Thursdays, 6PM - 8PM CST / 7PM - 9PM EST
*Note: we will skip class on February 29th and March 14th, and conclude the workshop on April 4th, 2024.
Now Enrolling!Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Taught by Leslie Contreras Schwartz, a multi-genre writer, 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and 2019-2021 Houston Poet Laureate. She is the winner of the 2022 C&R Press Nonfiction Prize for the lyrical memoir, From the Womb of Sky and Earth. Leslie is a poetry and nonfiction faculty member at Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing.
Storytelling comes alive for readers when they are immersed in the world you create. But prose is not confined to a single style in a piece of writing—it can range from plain-spoken and matter-of-fact to wildly lyrical and imagistic, all for different effects and to elicit a range of emotions from the reader.
In this class, you will learn how to use the tools of poetry to create lyrical moments in your writing that allow you to engage with the most intuitive parts of your creative mind.
This multi-genre workshop is open to writers with all levels of experience; we’ll discuss the concept and practice of the lyric and lyrical language, a mode of writing defined by its emotionally-charged, image-focused and melodic qualities.
We’ll read contemporary poetry and prose by writers such as Jesmyn Ward, Louise Erdrich, Matthew Gavin Frank, and Ross Gay that make use of lyrical language, and we’ll discuss how the writers employ this craft element intentionally to create compelling pieces. In addition to readings, this class will focus on generative writing exercises allowing for practice writing in prose, poetry and hybrid forms.
Our discussions and generative exercises will help students complete one new piece of writing that incorporates lyrical elements. Workshop of these pieces will be held the last two sessions of the class, offering each student feedback that will help make their pieces stronger.
Excerpts from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros, Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, and Preparing the Ghost by Matthew Gavin Frank, among others.
Week 1: “Poppies in July,” Sylvia Plath, “The Family of Little Feet,” and “Woman Hollering Creek,” Sandra Cisnero
Week 2: Excerpt from Master Butcher’s Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich
Week 3: Excerpt from Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitudes, by Ross Gay
Week 4: Scheherazade,” Richard Siken, Theory and Play of The Duende,” Federica García Lorca
Week 5: Excerpt from Preparing the Ghost, by Matthew Gavin Frank
Week 6: Excerpt from Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
- Students will understand the difference between lyrical and other qualities of language and be able to define lyricism.
- Students will gain an awareness of how writers use lyrical language as a craft device to create compelling poetry or prose.
- Students will engage with writing lyrically through generative writing exercises, as well as contribute to discussions that develop a deeper understanding of this mode of writing.
Class Starts Thursday, February 15th, 2024
Classes will meet weekly via Zoom on Thursdays, 6PM - 8PM CST / 7PM - 9PM EST
- Note: we will skip class on February 29th and March 14th, and conclude the workshop on April 4th, 2024.
If you have questions, please use the Chat Button or contact us via email HERE.
Instructor Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a multi-genre writer, a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and the 2019-2021 Houston Poet Laureate. She is the winner of the 2022 C&R Press Nonfiction Prize for the lyrical memoir, From the Womb of Sky and Earth.
She is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Body Cosmos (Mouthfeel Press, 2023); Black Dove / Paloma Negra (FlowerSong Press, 2020), a finalist for 2020 Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters; Fuego (St. Julian Press, 2016); and Nightbloom & Cenote (SJP, 2018), a semi-finalist for the 2017 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, judged by Ilya Kaminsky.
Her work has appeared in AGNI, Missouri Review, Iowa Review, [PANK], Verse Daily, Pleiades, Zocalo Public Square, Gulf Coast, and the anthologies Houston Noir (Akashic Books, 2019), and 2019 Best Small Fiction. Recent work has been featured with the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day.
She has collaborated or been commissioned for poetic projects with the City of Houston, the Houston Grand Opera, and The Moody Center of the Arts at Rice University. Contreras Schwartz is currently a poetry and nonfiction faculty member at Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing, and a lecturer in creative writing at Rice University. Contreras Schwartz was born in Houston, Texas, with Mexican American and Mexican roots going back several generations in Houston and Texas. She is a graduate of The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and earned a bachelor’s at Rice University.