Crossing Borders and Subverting Genre: The Lyric Essay
Have your poems ever felt jealous of scientific essays, investigative journalism, instruction manuals, business correspondence, or religious texts to name a few? Or conversely does your prose feel like it’s missing certain flourishes, freedoms, or gestures that you see over the wall in poetry land? Are you drawn to authors whose work exists somewhere at the nexus of poetry, fiction and non-fiction? And do you simultaneously feel thrilled, jealous, and/or scandalized when you read how these authors flout genre preconceptions? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, this course is for you.
In this class we will explore the possibilities of the lyric essay, conceptualize our own hybrid text ideas, and develop site-specific writing approaches to embody our poem-prose explorations. We will read a variety of short texts by various authors ranging from prose poems to essays to religious and scientific texts that will serve as models and inspiration as you are writing. Each student will formulate, develop, and workshop a lyric essay and will receive individualized feedback from me and from their fellow classmates. This course is open to writers from all levels and backgrounds. No prior workshop experience is necessary. At the end of our week together, each student will receive an email from the instructor going over strengths in your work and ideas for moving forward.
Chloe Garcia Roberts is the author of The Reveal (Noemi Press) and the translator of Li Shangyin’s Derangements of My Contemporaries: Miscellaneous Notes (New Directions), which was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Her work has appeared in the publications BOMB, Boston Review, A Public Space, and Interim Magazine among others. Forthcoming translations include a collected poetry of Li Shangyin (NYRB Books) and a children's book, Feather, by Cao Wenxuan (Archipelago Books) . She is managing editor at the Harvard Review and contributing editor for The Critical Flame.