Instructor: Drury T/R 9:30 – 10:50am
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 the reading and analysis of several memoirs with the opportunity for students to write their own autobiographical narratives. You will learn the importance of the memoirist’s contract with the reader, so that your writing can be selective, creative, and speculative but must remain based on the facts and the truth. You will learn methods of conducting research, including how to interview people and make use of letters, photographs, digital resources, and other relevant texts. You will learn how inventive writing depends on attentive reading. We’ll read some wonderful memoirs by poets, including Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World, Richard Blanco’s The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy, Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, and Patti Smith’s Just Kids. 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 have known). Assignments will include two papers, daily responses to reading assignments, and a memoir piece.