This course will explore a specific genre of nonfiction in depth. Class will operate as an advanced writing workshop that uses master works as models and inspiration. Offerings might include profiles, travel writing, personal essays, reviews, memoir, nature writing or literary nonfiction. Prerequisite: ENG 201.
|ENG 201||1 course|
Spring Semester informationRick Bass
322A: Fiction & Environmental Nonfiction Workshop
Fiction & Environmental Nonfiction Workshop
It might seem that these two genres could not be more different, and to some extent, that will be the point of the class. We'll examine the great American short story renaissance of the late 1970s and 1980s, in which the classic short story form was addressed with renewed elegance, even as--always--experimentation was taking place.
We'll also look at a few examples of environmental nonfiction and ask ourselves, in an era of donor fatigue and chronic bad news, how does one write effectively about the natural world, or is it even possible, given the facts of the times? And which is worse: the familiar litany of doom-and-gloom, or the artificially hope-striven, with its formulaic upbeat twist right at the very end, despite the advancing darkness?
In both these genres, we'll examine what works--a solid sense of story--and will workshop our own work, with an eye not just on technical improvements but also a plumbing of the mysterious and the subconscious, where the heart of much great writing resides.
Recommended reading: Joe by Larry Brown and All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren