It’s easy to get in a rut in the winter. Luckily, the same internet-dependent laziness that got us into this mess can lead to ambitious projects inspired by what we find online. In this intensive one-week class we’ll explore archives and resources and share the treasures we uncover, all without leaving the sofa, or office. Together we’ll find and discuss images and articles from museums, libraries, historic newspapers and more that can guide us into projects to keep us inspired for the coming months. We’ll look at examples of accomplished writing in multiple genres that depend on resources like these, then reverse-engineer them to help us create our own assignments in any genre we choose. We’ll look at digitized materials on escaped slaves, hanged witches, and armed rebellions, as well as our own archival discoveries, for the details and developments that can push us into work that makes us proud.
Jill McDonough is the author of Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), Oh, James! (Seven Kitchens, 2012), Where You Live (Salt, 2012), and Reaper (Alice James, 2017). The recipient of three Pushcart prizes and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program, her work appears in Poetry, Slate, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry. Her fifth poetry collection, Here All Night, is forthcoming from Alice James Books.