This workshop-style course focuses on the techniques of writing creative non-fiction. We will concentrate specifically on the personal essay. However, the techniques you will learn in the course will help you to improve your prose-writing skills in every area-- including academic and formal essay writing and fiction. During the semester you will complete 12 specific short exercises designed to illuminate issues of style and form, plus two polished, full-length workshop essays and a book review. Occasionally, you will be asked to read aloud from your shorter works in class.
We will be discussing assigned readings from a comprehensive-- and exciting-- anthology spanning the classical era to the present (including some works in translation), and the work of fellow student writers. Active, thoughtful participation is essential. Your written critiques of your peers' manuscripts should include comments throughout the text as well as a summary of your impressions at the end of the work. Students of any discipline will benefit from this course-- you need not be an English major-- but do come prepared for a challenge.
Text: The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate, Anchor Press. Available at Penn Book Center.