TR 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM
Memoir gives writers the opportunity to explore personal experience within a narrative structure that draws from the techniques of fiction, essays, and poetry. This creative-writing course combines reading and analysis of several memoirs with the opportunity for students to write their own autobiographical narratives. You’ll learn the importance of the memoirist’s contract with the reader, so that your writing can be selective, creative, and speculative while staying based on facts and the truth. You’ll learn methods of conducting research, such as how to interview people and make use of letters, photographs, digital resources, and other relevant texts. You’ll learn how inventive writing depends on attentive reading. We’ll read some wonderful memoirs by poets, including Carolyn Forché’s What You Have Heard Is True, Joy Harjo’s Crazy Brave, Kevin Honold’s The Rock Cycle, Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, and Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light. In addition to responding to these texts, you’ll have a chance to do some memoir-writing of your own, either first-person (autobiographical) or third person (about the life of someone you’ve known). Assignments will include two papers, daily responses to reading assignments, and a memoir piece.