Telling it Slant
Emily Dickinson wrote, “Tell all the truth/but tell it slant.” This workshop will offer narrative strategies for digging deeper in memoir and personal essay by investigating Dickinson’s dictum. How does a piece of writing, whether personal essay or memoir transform itself from personal experience into artfulness? How can a fictive voice be called upon in a memoir piece? We all know that the most convincing writing comes from urgent subject matter. How do we take this material and shape it into art. Jill Bialosky will offer writing prompts and exercises to generate new material and to reshape existing material. We will examine student writing as well as look at select poems, memoir pieces and personal essays as guideposts for transformation.
Please bring to class 20 pages, double spaced, of the opening of your memoir. And please purchase a copy of Jill Bialosky’s History of a Suicide.
Jill Bialosky's most recent memoir, Poetry Will Save Your Life, was published in 2017. She is the author of four collections of poetry, The Players, Intruder, Subterranean, and The End of Desire; three critically acclaimed novels, The Prize, House Under Snow, and The Life Room; and the New York Times bestselling memoir History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life. She is co-editor, with Helen Schulman, of the anthology, Wanting A Child. Her poems and essays appear in The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, among other publications.