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Instructor Course Descriptions - Mary Anderson

The Prose Collection: Raymond Carver

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love established Raymond Carver as the “foremost practitioner of minimalist fiction.” Find out why it did not accurately represent the manuscript he originally submitted for publication. We will spend this quarter discovering, investigating, and pondering Carver's fiction and how he managed to “breathe new life” into the short stories of the 1970s and ‘80s. He wrote “unsparingly about desperation and betrayal, about working-class frustrations, the rift between the sexes, and the ravages of alcohol” (Stull &Carroll, editors). Though his prose incorporated lyricism and compassion, it was complicated by his relationship with Gordon Lish, friend and editor. We will look at stories from Beginners, Cathedral, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? and more. See how knowing and understanding a master of early fiction helps your writing and expands your version of short story history and development.

The Prose Collection: Alice Munro

Dare to write about the ordinary. Learn to craft short stories with the impact of a novel. Come read and study Dear Life, the latest stories by Alice Munro, as we examine this beloved, award-winning, Canadian writer's “unparalleled gift for storytelling." Try your own hand at writing your way through clarity and into vision.

The Prose Collection: Richard Ford

To paraphrase The Paris Review (No. 147), Richard Ford's much acclaimed collection of short stories,Rock Springs, established him as a master of the genre. Ford consciously concentrates on the distinctions among such fictive concerns as narrative strategy, setting, character types, plots, point of view, and dramatic structure.

This class will investigate, analyze, and inhale two short story collections from different periods of Ford's writing career. You will also look at your own writing in relation to Ford's in order to enhance your working knowledge of accessible fiction and add to your collection of writing techniques.

Ford continues to write award-winning fiction in part for the reader he was at nineteen, and for the language — “To me, it's the thought that you can make something out of words, which organizes experience in the way Faulkner is talking about when he says that ‘literature stops life for the purpose of examining it.' To be able to do that for another person is a good use of your life.”

Flash Nonfiction

Philip Graham, the co-founder and nonfiction editor of Ninth Letter Arts and Literary Journal, writes: “The memories we have of our lives are not a continuous narrative. Instead, they are more akin to the several arcs of a skipping stone…” He goes on to suggest that rather than having a beginning and end, flash nonfiction has a point of entry and a point of departure. Today, this is what we want to read and so, this is what we want to write!

Phillip Lopate suggests flash nonfiction essays offer “…the paradoxical effect of slowing down our attention and encouraging an expansion of the moment…” Come practice and experience this emerging and popular brief essay form, the perfect medium for experimentation, insight, and illumination!

The Craft of Poetry

The Craft of Poetry will make an excellent chapter in your writing life. This class is divided into two main parts. The first will be devoted to the craft—elements of poetry—essentially the nitty-gritty of a poem: imagery, the line, form, rhythm and meter, and voice. The second part of the class will concentrate on theme and subject, including grief, family relationships, love and eroticism, and poetry of place. You will have the opportunity to design a mini-blog and participate in a mini-workshop, ending with a body of poetry that digs at the core of what it is to be human and enhances the girth of your writing portfolio.

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