Writing the Lyric Essay

Not a poem, not a narrative, not an idea-driven essay, but something other.  The lyric essay is that thing you’ve been writing that isn’t a story, isn’t a poem, isn’t anything familiar…but what it is shocks you, spurns you forward, and makes you feel uncomfortable. In this class—which is open to beginners of any type of writing who are curious about work that blurs genre lines—we will look to work between those lines.  Braided through image, language, story, rhythm, and mimetic technique, the lyric essay expands upon its forbearers (Creative Nonfiction and New Journalism) popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by the likes of Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe.  The lyric essay, however, has pushed beyond even those gorgeously textured, vibrantly alive texts to include new levels of perception and insight, music and poetry.  In this class, we will spend three weeks defining (in Week 1), reading and discussing (in Week 2), and writing and workshopping (in Week 3) the lyric essay. Writers discussed may include, among others, Lia Purpura, Joni Tevis, T Fleischmann, Karen Green, Brian Lennon, and Brenda Miller.

Class runs for 3 weeks on Thursday evenings, 7 - 9 pm.