This course is designed for writers at all stages of their careers to engage in the intimate, often transformative act of writing the personal essay. Throughout the course we will close-read personal essays from some of our greatest contemporary writers including Melissa Febos, Ocean Vuong, Roxane Gay, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Yiyun Li. We will have weekly in-class writing exercises inspired by the selected readings to push us to approach the task of writing about the self through various stages of life. We will finish with a writing workshop where students will have an opportunity to share work they’ve developed during the course to receive in-class feedback from their peers and the instructor.
Jenessa Abrams is a writer, literary translator, and practitioner of Narrative Medicine. Her fiction, literary criticism, and creative non-fiction has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, Tin House, Electric Literature, Guernica, BOMB Magazine, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from MacDowell, the Ucross Foundation, the Norman Mailer Center, the Vermont Studio Center, the New York Public Library, and Columbia University, where she earned her MFA in fiction and literary translation. She has taught writing at Columbia University, Catapult, Rutgers University, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center.
Jenessa is new to The Porch. Welcome!