Section 2: Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-1:45 PM

Professor: Silas Hansen

The word essay comes from the French verb “essayer”—to try.  This class will focus on essays, which help us try to understand something: how a significant event in childhood impacted us, how we came around to a particular way of thinking, or what a series of seemingly unconnected events might mean when put into context.  We will focus on the questions—what the questions mean, how to ask better ones, and the various ways we might attempt to answer them—rather than the answers themselves.  

You will read a great deal of published creative nonfiction (including work by writers like Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Cheryl Strayed, and Eula Biss), study numerous craft techniques (reflection, scene, characterization, etc.) and practice them through in-class and out-of-class writing exercises, and then explore your own burning questions in essay drafts that you will share in both small group peer review and full class workshops.

Readings will include craft readings, Daniel Raeburn’s Vessels: A Love Story, and numerous essays published in literary magazines and anthologies.