A 6-week course from 5 February through 11 March 2024 meeting Mondays from 20:00 – 21:00 Amsterdam time for 1-hour online Zoom sessions. The Crafting the Lyric Essay course class size is 6-12 people.

Poets like Claudia Rankine and Ross Gay write lyric essays. So do thinkers like Maggie Nelson, journalists such as Joan Didion, and fiction writers a la Jamie Quatro. What draws such diverse writers to this hybrid form? The lyric essay is one part poem—in its shape and musicality and imagery—and one part essay, where an allegiance to facts rules. Crafting the Lyric Essay will help you refine the techniques drawn from poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to create the lyric essay.

This course will help you generate new work by using techniques such as close observation, fact sandwiches, and the exquisite corpse. We’ll explore the outer boundaries of truth-telling by looking at “perhapsing” and the power of the helix form. The final class of this course will be devoted to revision. Throughout this course, we’ll rely on sample essays to illustrate the techniques you will be asked to apply in each week’s written exercise. You’ll receive feedback on those exercises via our online classroom from the teacher and your fellow students.

If you have taken a lyric essay workshop with us in the past, know that Crafting the Lyric Essay offers new readings, techniques, and exercises. If you are new to the lyric essay, no worries. For a poet or fiction writer eager to dabble in the essay form or an aspiring essayist raring to improve your craft, this course is for you.

The course is taught by Karen Kao. She is the winner of the 2022 Kenyon Review Short Nonfiction Contest for her lyric essay “Fish Tales.” Karen is the author of the novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, and short stories nominated for the Pushcart, Best of the Net and the VERA. Her lyric essays have appeared in Brevity, Kenyon Review and Pleiades, and occasionally as examples used by other creative writing teachers of what a lyric essay can do.

Note: Because of its long duration, this course does not qualify for a member discount.

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