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Course Descriptions

Focusing on Form when Revising Creative Nonfiction with Cassandra Kircher 

This workshop explores ways in which attention to the form or shape of creative nonfiction not only helps writers reimagine what they’re writing about but also reinforces what they want their work to say. During our time together, we’ll experiment with what I call the narrative, focused, disjunctive, and lyrical forms to better understand our writing strengths and preferences and to move what we’ve been working on closer to completion. 

Choice and Consequence in Fiction with Sheryl Monks 

Kurt Vonnegut told us that a character must want something, even if it’s only a glass of water. Such desires compel characters to action, which drives narrative momentum. A story well told involves characters faced with decisions, and the outcome depends on the choices they make. In this workshop, we will examine how conflict is shaped by the choices, or lack of choices, characters make and the consequences that unfold as a result. Participants can expect to have their characters’ choices thoughtfully and respectfully scrutinized by their peers to help achieve narrative tension that immerses readers in a story that resonates deeply and lingers long after it ends. 

Figuring: Making (and Unmaking and Remaking) a Poem with Joseph Mills 

In this course, we’ll explore various aspects of “figuring” in writing poetry. What, as Robert Frost says, is the figure a poem makes? How do we write poetry to figure things out? How do we think about a poem’s configurations? What calculations do we make? What are we considering? What are a poem’s figures – both words and numbers, body and design and importance? What does it look like? What does it add up to? What are its implications? When we complete a draft, do we step back and think “that figures”? If we do, what do we mean? 

This course involves serious play. We will be working with both your submitted poems (so please don’t submit anything that you won’t at least consider changing) and new material that we will generate in class.