Breaking Up with Form: Experimental Essays


“Creative nonfiction” is an expansive genre of writing that encompasses a range of styles and techniques to tell life stories. Whether you’re telling a story for the first or hundredth time, it can be in this retelling that we are able to rearrange time, reconsider the nuances of memory, and begin to reorganize the turmoil of the past. Beginning with the origins of the word, “essay,”—from the French essayer, or to try—we will explore: How can form help us better tell our stories? How can choosing the right container illuminate our essays’ contents? And how can contemporary forms free up our stories and reflect the complex nature of memory?

In this workshop, we will explore different essay forms, discuss how these forms impact the reader’s experience of the essay, and experiment as we borrow and integrate new techniques in our own writing. The class will offer readings, writing prompts, and feedback on your writing. We welcome both new and experienced writers looking for exploration, accountability, structure, and supportive feedback on their work.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.

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