Disorienting the Essay: Finding Form in Personal Nonfiction


  • University of Arizona Poetry Center 1508 East Helen Street Tucson, AZ, 85719 United States

Dates: 8 Mondays, January 23-March 20, 6:00pm-8:00pm (off 3/13)

Cost: $256

Location: The University of Arizona Poetry Center

What is the best way to tell a given story? How can we press form to enlarge, deepen or propel the stories we tell?  What levers are there to pull? In this introductory prose course, we’ll read across the creative nonfiction spectrum, from longform journalism to lyric essays, from narrative memoir to hermit crab essays, exploring how the same story might be told in different ways. Together, we’ll discuss craft elements like chronology, creative research, and narrative distance, considering how these drive the structure and possibilities of a work. Weekly readings will include work by nonfiction writers whose methodologies and practices will be instructive. 

Central to this class is a group workshop, each participant submitting an essay of their own for feedback and providing comments on their peers’ work. Through in-class writing, lively conversation, and independent revision, participants in this class will excavate, chisel, and transform their own stories, dynamically seeking the form their personal narratives want to take.

THIS CLASS IS FULL. Join the waitlist through The University of Arizona Poetry Center. Scholarships are available here.