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Intro to Creative Writing: Ordinary Life

ENGL 010.305
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30pm

“Question your tea spoons,” Georges Perec advised, or “that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us.” In asking questions of an object like a tea (or coffee) spoon, a solid thing we may not notice as it moves from hand to cup, writers reveal the ordinary as a realm of endless detail, fascination, and complexity, not to mention strangeness. In this workshop-based course, we will follow Perec’s maxim and pursue astonishing encounters with the stuff of daily life, the raw material for writing be it poetry or prose or something in between. Students will experiment with forms of ordinary (and sometimes daily) life writing and will study texts depicting ordinary life from various perspectives and in multiple genres. Likely authors include Perec, Gertrude Stein, Harryette Mullen, Nicholson Baker, Jena Osman, and Patricia Hampl, among others. Composition and revision are the main tasks of this course. Requirements include: short, 1- or 2-page pieces due each week, engaged participation (including peer review), and a final portfolio of work from the semester.