Courses and Calendar

Nonfiction | Writing in the Moment
Instructor: Chelsea Hodson
Dates and Times: Tuesdays 12:00-2:00 pm EST (February 16-March 30)

Some writers say it’s best to have distance from the things we write about, but what if we wrote our lives as they happened? In this class, we will observe how other writers create essays and nonfiction pieces with various levels of proximity to the events being written about. Students will also be writing and sharing brand new work they create in this class—at first they will be documenting, journaling, and taking notes on the events of their days, and, later, they will be curating these entries into a fully-formed essay. In this class, we will embrace the sprawling, imperfect aspects of our writing selves in order to create a piece of writing that feels just as true and uncertain as the moment in which we’re living. Note: This is a seven-week intensive course. Tuition is $1,050.

Poetry | Conversations with Poetry
Instructor: Craig Morgan Teicher
Dates and times:
Wednesdays 6:00-8:00 pm EST (March 17-April 14)

Poetry is the place to say things that are difficult to say, that are addressed to someone who can’t or won’t hear, or to everyone at once. Poetry is a special kind of conversation, both sides of which take place in the imagination. In this four week course, through seminar-style discussions and workshop sessions, we will practice reading poetry like poets, listening for what is meant but unsaid, and write in response to and in conversation with other poets and poems. Students will come away from the course equipped with greater familiarity and comfort engaging with contemporary poetry and having written and workshopped new poems.

Nonfiction | Serious Noticing: How to Turn What We See into What We Write
Instructor: Marie Mockett
Dates and Times: Thursdays 6:00-8:00 pm EST (April 15-May 5)

"What do writers do when they seriously notice the world?" the critic James Wood asks. Perhaps, he suggests, they do no less than "rescue the life of things from their death." In this class, we will investigate what it means to seriously notice the world, and try to learn how to notice it better. We will ask: when we are looking at a person, place or thing, what are we even seeing in the first place? The heart of nonfiction involves the translation of our personal vision into a story rooted in fact. The depth of our writing depends on many things, including a facility with language and metaphor; but it also depends on how deeply we can see into the world around us, and perceive layers. We will look at essays which examine the nature of seeing, and study how other writers use their personal lens to keenly examine a range of issues. The ability to see well—to pay attention—can be brought to bear on writing involving travel, race, gender, religion, class, pain and joy. We will challenge ourselves to get rid of received opinions and the pre-existing tropes we have been taught as part of an effort to liberate our imaginations and voices, so we can produce the most original and accurate writing possible.

Introduction to Fiction
Instructor: Manuel Gonzales
Dates and Times: Tuesdays 6:00-8:00 pm EST (May 11-June 1)

In this course, we will dive headlong into the elements of fiction writing: character, story, description, and scene. By exploring these building blocks of craft, students will develop the necessary toolkit for writing fiction across modes and genres, from short stories to novels, literary fiction to space operas. Students will analyze short fiction and novel excerpts in order to better understand how these elements work independently and together to fabricate an unreal yet wholly believable world, and will then put these elements to work in their own short fictions through writing prompts and exercises.

Past Course Offerings

Poetry | Resisting the Intelligence Almost Successfully: Introduction to Reading and Writing Poetry

Instructor: Craig Morgan Teicher
Dates and times: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00 pm EST (August 19-September 9) 

Wallace Stevens says that “The poem must resist the intelligence almost successfully.” He means not that poems should not exhibit intelligence, but that they should be slippery enough that they can’t be paraphrased, and that they should say something that can’t be said any other way. In this course, in seminar-style discussions, students will practice reading of poems the way poets read them—with the intent to borrow, steal, and re-craft whatever writing tricks and strategies can help them find their authentic voice in their own poems. In addition to reading, discussing, and annotating exemplary poems, students will also write and workshop their own poems.

Nonfiction | Breaking Open: Finding an Authentic Voice in Essays

Instructor: Chelsea Hodson
Dates and times: 
Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00 pm EST (September 15-October 6)

Writer John D'Agata says the goal of art should be "to break us all open, to make us all raw, to destabilize our understanding of ourselves." So, how can we write the stories of our own lives while still maintaining a level of honesty that feels true to both the reader and the writer? How can we use the world around us to help us discover new understandings of ourselves? In this course, students will read a variety of nonfiction pieces and write their own personal essays in voices that feel both honest and authentic.

 

Fiction | Funny, Ha-Ha: Humor in Short Fiction

Instructor: Manuel Gonzales
Dates and times: Wednesdays 6:00-8:00 pm (October 21-November 11)

A good short story writer should be able to access all points on the emotional compass—from humiliation to sadness to fear to anxiety to anger to suspense and excitement and pleasure—but too often, writers forget—or do not know how—to incorporate humor. Like salt added to food, humor, when added to fiction, enhances the intensity of the other emotional moments in a story. Students in this course will explore the various ways writers have injected humor into their fiction and will write their own short stories using skills learned from exercises, writing prompts, and outside readings.

 

Fiction | Recursive Fictions: Variations on a Theme

Instructor: Derek Palacio
Dates and times: 
Thursdays 3:00-5:00 pm EST (November 19-December 17)

What happens when fiction actively and consciously recycles themes, ideas, plot scenarios, and even character identities in lieu of straightforward cause and effect plot development? What is illuminated in narrative repetition that might otherwise go unnoticed? What does this kind of creative fixation afford a writer, and how does it lead to depth of experience/knowledge as opposed to redundancy? Students in this course will study Carol Anshaw's Aquamarine to explore how narrative might reinvent and expand itself not through novelty but obsession. Students will examine Anshaw's novel alongside other artwork structured around repetition, while also developing their own recursive fictions.