The poet and essayist, Sydney Lea, offered some thoughts on what he called “the lyrical essay” in an article that appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle in February, 1999. This was early on in the explosion of the lyric essay that has continued with the work of such writers as Ander Monson, John D’Agata, Jenny Boully,…

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Last week, we talked about turning oneself into a character in creative nonfiction. This week, our focus is on creating compelling characters of other people. My students read a roundtable consideration on this craft issue that was published in a long-ago issue of Fourth Genre. One of the participants, Donald Morrill, talks about how characters…

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Friends, with the kind help of Silas Hansen, we’re going to provide the links to the readings and writing activities for the creative nonfiction workshop. Here’s a start, with more to come as the weeks roll along. As always, thanks for reading. Reading: “Chop Suey” by Ira Sukrungruang | Writing Exercise, Week 1 Reading: “The Sloth”…

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Our conversation in workshop today centered on Phillip Lopate’s craft article, “Writing Personal Essays: On the Necessity of Turning Oneself Into a Character,” which appears in Writing Creative Nonfiction, edited by Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard. Lopate points out the importance of the essayist becoming a round character in his or her essay, dramatizing the…

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In light of my uncle’s death and a trip to Illinois to see to family matters there, I asked for a volunteer from my MFA CNF workshop to do a guest blog post this week. Michael Larson has kindly obliged, and in just a moment, I’ll paste in his entry. Before I do, though, let…

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