The New School

Writing Essays in a Changing World

Spring 2017 (online)

The world of writing and reading is changing rapidly, in large part because of technology. This writing course is designed for students interested in autobiographical essays as well as arts and cultural criticism, race and ethnicity, and social and political change; it is also especially appropriate for those eager to use new technologies to write personal essays. Assignments focus on the tensions and connections between individual experience and identity and social context. Students write ten short pieces and two longer essays, one of which is an opportunity to use multi-media/hybrid form to explore questions of self, voice, and audience. Readings include selections by George Orwell, George Packer, James Baldwin, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Griffin, Natasha Trethewey, Ian Frazier, Bruce Chatwin, Alain de Botton, Eula Biss, Charles Baxter, and Leslie Jamison (3 credits). I will be teaching this course again in the Spring of 2018 online.

In  Summer and Fall 2017, I will teach these courses in person at The New School

Summer Writers Colony: Nonfiction Workshop

June 2017

Discover the writer’s life in New York City. This intensive three-week program provides a supportive yet demanding atmosphere in which to develop as a writer, whether you are embarking on a new writing project or developing a work-in-progress. In a daily writing workshop you and your peers share and critique one another’s ongoing projects moderated by a member of The New School’s distinguished writing faculty. Instructors also provide detailed written feedback on all work submitted. In the evenings, our literary salons bring notable writers into conversation with the students and faculty of the colony.

In supplemental sessions, you can try your hand at specialized writing activities such as experimental fiction, children’s writing, or writing a walking poem during a literary tour of Greenwich Village. The entire Summer Writers Colony community gathers for celebratory readings of student and faculty work.

Courses meet from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Mornings and weekends are reserved for individual writing practice, and for enjoying your summer in New York City.
Undergraduate students can earn 6 credits for transfer. The Writers Colony is also open to noncredit students. To read more and link to registration information, click here.

Multi-Genre Literary Salon: Lydia Davis. During the third week of the Summer Writers Colony, I will be leading the literary salon reading and discussing can’t and won’t (stories)¬†by Lydia Davis. We will consider this collection relative to other pieces of her writing and works of others and host the author to read and discuss her work in our third session. For more information and registration information, click Program Details.

Essay Writing: Truth and Culture

Fall 2017

Essays in their myriad forms are everywhere — blogs, books of poetry, newspapers, digital magazines, and emerging publications of every kind. It could be argued that the essay is our most contemporary form, combining the immediacy and intimacy of a personal voice with the exploration of broader themes. Essays can push the culture into its most vulnerable corners, shining the light of reality into dark places that some would prefer remain hidden. Still, it is the essayist’s job to reveal–not necessarily shock–the reader with the truth. In this class, we will read work from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard, Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The Best American Essays (2013) edited by Cheryl Strayed. We discuss the history, purpose, and evolution of the personal essay, all while attempting to write some of our best work to date. For more information and to register, click here.