What does it mean to write memoir and creative nonfiction in 2020? How to write out of our personal urgency while also asking questions about community, survival, isolation, and power—all that is wrong with the world and all we’d like to make better? How does it feel to be alive right now? We’ll think about those questions alongside all the matters of craft: voice, structure, focus, sonics, description, polarity, openings, closings. We’ll do this through the lens of your own manuscript (up to eight double-spaced pages) while also looking at a few short examples of outside work. There will be time for exercises. Along the way we’ll work hard and make sure that play and seriousness share the same space.
LIVE ELEMENT: Each student will have a one-on-one videoconference with the instructor to conclude the class.
Paul Lisicky’s books include Later: My Life at the Edge of the World, The Narrow Door, Unbuilt Projects, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Conjunctions, The Cut, Fence, The New York Times, and elsewhere. His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center. He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Camden, where he is editor of StoryQuarterly. His seventh book, The Sky in It: A Life with Joni Mitchell, is forthcoming from HarperOne.