Craft Talks

Creative Nonfiction: Barrie Jean Borich 
Radical Surprise: On the Art of Uncertainty

How does nonfictional experimenting, questioning, uncovering, and essaying lead the way into radical surprise? We may feel we can’t afford to dwell in possibility and doubt, but certainty is the death of remaking, particularly in the essay arts where we create to discover what we know, what we seek to understand, and even what might transform our worlds. We won’t be able to make anything new if we don’t lurch into uncertainty and risk failure. Through close readings from recent books and a bit of hands-on writing, as well as some autobiographical wandering and chasing of the unanswerable questions, we will explore the role of the essayist as curious citizen, innovative researcher, and architect of the examined life.

Poetry: Lynnell Edwards
Prose Poem

Prose poem.  Proem.  Non-lineated verse.  Flash fiction. Are there meaningful distinctions between the terms used to describe those chunks of words on the blank page that don’t quite seem to be poems and don’t quite seem to be stories?  In this lecture we’ll briefly review the history and tradition of this form to discover its potential for writers of any genre. We’ll also take some time to write, drafting new work from both narrative and lyric prompts.  Prose writers welcome!

Fiction: Rion Amilcar Scott 
I’ll Build Me a World 

Building a fictional world that stretches across works is its own particular challenge. In addition to paying attention to the usual narrative elements (plot, character, sentences, etc.) the writer of this kind of work must pay close attention to the shape and feel of an additional element: a world that must be both strange and recognizable. We will look at recurring characters, recurring locations, and recurring objects, as well as setting as “character.”