Download 584W section 03 Spring 2015 Writing Informal Essays Monday 4:00-6:40pm

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584W section 03
Spring 2015
Writing Informal Essays
Monday 4:00-6:40pm
Professor: David Matlin
Office # 270 Arts & Letters
Building LSN Room # 111
e-mail [email protected]
Office Hours: Monday 2:30 to 3:45
The 584W Creative Writing Workshop will be an exploration of the Art of the Essay.
Students will have a chance to discover the range, care, and resonances this most
provocative of forms can offer. There is no articulation that can be at once more
challenging and unpredictable than the essay. Its ranges of address can encompass the
deeply personal and private to the most public and even experimental voicings. The essay
can be a form of criticism, a probing historical scrutiny of one's own life, an
improvisation focusing on travel, science, birth, death, portraiture, the arts, sports,
politics, and the chaotic fascinating times in which we live. Students will be encouraged
to write, to probe, to participate in the act of imagining how to speak for oneself in the
actual writing and energies of sustained attentions that are a record of things felt, heard,
and lived. The course will also include a series of readings that may help to suggest, to
define, and to offer the gain of confidence and nerve to try to make narratives that are
new, fresh, and immediate. The writer wants to be aware that an essay, particularly,
involves the management of knowledge as a central act of focus and that narrative, is this
instance is also an object that can arise by making language come alive
through a coherent identity determined by the story itself.
A significant portion of this course will involve reading for the first month. I have
provided pieces that I feel are at once provocative, resourceful, funny, imaginative, brave,
and deeply inviting in terms of each their inventions of language and intimate address.
These books are also provided as guides and to help give you the courage to walk into
your own imaginations and make those urgent discoveries which will matter to
yourselves and to your fellow writers. How do you make the language that is yours and
the mind that is yours come alive and be full with a nerve peculiar to yourselves?
With this sense of possibilities in mind I’ve ordered two books:
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich
Memory’s Wake by Derek Owens
Each of these books is marked by a range of address and range of themes and out of these
readings you each may discover a “theme” lying in wait in yourselves.
The Solace of Open Spaces
Jan 26th to Feb 9th
Memoey’s Wake
Feb 9th to Feb 23rd
As you read, take notes and begin to form the first gestures of your own writing. Consider
how aware these writers are and how they bring their awareness to a living urgency and
emotional depth.
Consistent attendance is essential. Student discussion, participation, and responses are
basic frameworks of the course, Arrive on time. Three absences or tardies will be grounds
for a grade reduction. If you are ill write me a note and let me know. Do not come to
class if you have the flu.
You have a choice of either two medium length essays or one more sustained single
essay. By “medium length” I mean at least 20 pages. By “more sustained” I mean 50 to
60 pages. Each of you has a valuable address waiting. Find it. It is yours and as well the
theme is yours. Do what most deeply matters to you and you will discover yourselves in
the midst of surprises and accomplishments.
You may contact me for consultations or come to see me in my office. You are all
welcome. If you have questions you may also e-mail me. If I am away I’ll get back to
To introduce you to this art and its risks and discoveries.
To introduce you to the imagination of reading and how to educate your Imaginations
To strengthen your confidence, your range of thinking, and the depth of your eye and
Your grades will be based on the craft of both your reading and your writing, engaged
participation, and the growth of your essays.
59% and Below
Workshop discussions and participation
Readings and the sense of suggestion
And form it offers
Office Hours
Monday 2:30 to 3:45
270 2nd floor