Seminar, Monday, 5/15/2017

233B Purnell Hall

Voice and Craft in Nonfiction

I’d like to begin our consideration of the three pieces for this evening with some work in small groups.

  • Laskas, “To Obama“: Jenn, Courtney, Kathy, Meighan
Lily Spunk
Lily, age 8, “This country needs more spunk”, from Laskas, “To Obama”

I’d like each group to do two things:

  1. Locate two moments in the piece where you clearly hear the voice of the writer. These may be moments when the writer uses “I”, but not necessarily. What I really want you to identify are passages when your attention as a reader shifts from the subject to the writer of the piece.
  2. Single out two other moments in the piece which showcase the craft of the writer—brief passages that strike you as especially clear or well-phrased. See if you can come up with a name or label for what you admire in the writing.

In sum, then, your group should come up with four passages to talk about. I’ll ask you to begin our discussion of your piece by reading each passage aloud, so let me add one last rule: No passage can be more than 100 words long. Good luck! Have fun!

For Next Week (Monday, 5/22/2017)

Revised Unit Topic and Reading List : As you know, participants in all DTI seminars are asked to submit a revised curriculum unit proposal next week. I’d like you to do three things in this proposal:

  1. Restate your teaching topic and goals for your unit, as you now imagine it. If you can, offer some context about how this unit will fit into the arc of the semester or the school year.
  2. Provide a link to (or copy of) a nonfiction piece that you might ask your students to read as part of your unit. Ideally, this piece should be both something you think students will enjoy reading and that will also serve as a model of the kind of writing you’d like them to do. We will talk much more about readings in seminar, and I will be eager to help you formulate a more extended list by email.
  3. Ask me any questions you might have about your project at this point. I’ll respond by email.

And here’s the kicker: I’d like you to do all this in 250 words or less.

I think it would be great if everyone in the seminar is able to read and talk about each other’s work. Before we leave this evening, then, I’d like to discuss some possibilities for sharing your writing—WordPress, Google Drive, and plain old email spring to my  mind as possibilities.




Seminar, Monday, 5/08/2017

5:00–5:30: Library Orientation (in 227 Purnell Hall)

5:30–7:00: Seminar (in 233B Purnell Hall)

Questions About Seminar Materials

Voice in Creative Nonfiction

Wabi sabi

Laurie Clements Lambeth, “The Three-Legged Dog Who Carried Me“, New York Times, Dec 7, 2016.

Fastwrite: Write about a memory or object that holds beauty for you because of its “asymmetry and imperfection”.

For Next Week (Monday, 5/15/2017)

Please read the following brief pieces:

(We’ll use Lambeth’s essay as a example of a piece grounded in the work of remembering (memoir).)