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MFA Course Descriptions

IMF 52306
Focused Nonfiction Workshop: Lyric & Personal Essays

Instructor: Wm Anthony Connolly

Class Type: Workshop

Course Description: 
Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a point of view. The lyric and personal essay course is designed to explore your unique take on the world through creative nonfiction. Creative nonfiction begins with literary journalism and moves in subjectivity to personal essay, lyric essay and memoir. Our consideration will be on crafting lyric and personal essays through eleven weeks of craft exercises, reading and discussion.

A lyric essay is a mixture of essay and poetry conventions and is more associative than conclusive; the personal essay, on the other hand, is a singular attempt in prose to suggest meaning, and make connections. As one of its chief writers, Annie Dillard, said about the form, “there’s nothing you cannot do with it; no subject matter is forbidden, no structure is proscribed. You get to make up your own structure every time, a structure that arises from the materials and best contains them. The material is the world itself…”

Some lyric and personal essayists you might be familiar with include David Sedaris, Durga Chew-Bose, Joan Didion, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Bia Lowe, Judith Kitchen, and Terry Tempest Williams (to name but a few).

Textbook:
Crafting the Personal Essay
Dinty W. Moore
F+W Media
ISBN 9781582977966

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301