Craft of Creative Nonfiction


Joan Didion writes, "A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image." This craft class will focus on the notion of place in creative nonfiction. We will ask: what happens when the background moves to the foreground and begins to do the work of character, story, and theme? How does a writer navigate the current between a physical landscape and an emotional one? We'll look at strategies for locating our work in a specific landscape--evoking not just setting, but loading it with context, feeling, desire, and language. And of course this semester we might ask with new urgency how ideas of place and space appear to us after our long time of quarantine. We will read writers such as Hilton Als, Joan Didion, Teju Cole, Louise Erdrich, Natalia Ginzburg, James Baldwin, Rebecca Solnit, Gabriel García Márquez, Jamaica Kincaid, Lillian Ross, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Susan Orlean, Garrett Hongo, Colson Whitehead, Valeria Luiselli, Svetlana Alexievich, Vladimir Nabokov, J.A. Baker, André Aciman, Joe Sacco, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, D.J. Waldie, T Fleischmann, Pico Iyer, David Wojnarowicz, Sarah M. Broom, and David Rakoff. Students will write in- and out-of-class exercises, as well as complete and present a new creative project at the end of the semester. Open only to students in the MFA Creative Writing Program, the class will enroll directly from the waitlist to preserve the necessary seats for incoming MFA students.
Course Attributes:

Section 01

Craft of Creative Nonfiction - 01
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