The focus of this course is writing, and developing a relationship with, short fiction, with the aim of making it a fluid manifestation of the way we process and transform memory and experience. We will play into and take seriously Toni Morrison’s conception of memory as a form of willed creation, in an ongoing attempt to reanimate forgotten or unrealized aspects of our histories and ourselves. Students will generate new work constantly—in sketchbooks, exercises, and story drafts—paying attention to the honing of various craft elements (description, dialogue, character and plot development), and in correspondence with texts by a variety of exemplary practitioners of fiction and prose writing (Venita Blackburn, Jenny Boully, K-Ming Chang, Fleur Jaeggy, Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, Li-Young Lee, Clarice Lispector, Toni Morrison, Scholastique Mukasonga, among others). Students will share and discuss their work in a workshop format, the orientation of which will be based, in part, on each student’s specific intentions. The discussions will be supportive, inquisitive, and constructive, and will be oriented towards helping to introduce each other—and ourselves—to what is most compelling and imperative about what we are doing, what it is that we want to be doing, and how we might get there. Open to first and second year students.
The focus of this course is the writing of short fiction, though also where fiction might overlap with—and necessitate elements of—nonfiction, documentary, poetry. Students will build upon the foundations they established in prior writing workshops, while continuing to test the boundaries of their practice. Students will generate new work constantly—in sketchbooks, exercises, and story drafts—based on and inspired by readings, and especially their own preoccupations, curiosities, and experiences. We will read and discuss texts that both illuminate and complicate various formal possibilities, including by Etel Adnan, Matsuo Basho, Jenny Boully, Julio Cortazar, Renee Gladman, Malika Mokeddem, Scholastique Mukasonga, Sophia Terazawa, Jackie Wang, among others. And we will share and discuss our work in a workshop format. The discussions will be oriented towards asking questions, problem-solving, developing a generative relationship to revision, and towards challenging each other to go deeper into particular, perhaps unexpected, areas and aspects of our writing. Open to third and fourth year students.