ENGLISH 569 - Writing Workshop in Creative Non-Fiction
Section: 001 All in the Family
Term: FA 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing and permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

One person can hardly tell the story of race in America. But what happens when multiple generations and branches of the same family contend with the stories passed down through DNA, over the dinner table, or in shared memories? How do we tell ourselves as a collective? What larger patterns—aesthetic, thematic—emerge when we zoom out from the individual?

In The Grey Album, Kevin Young speaks of the nonfiction books by Danzy Senna and Bliss Broyard that document what he calls “the losses inherent in black inheritance.” Both daughters bring language to the untold stories of their fathers, which “in the case of the African American writer, seems too much like the life denied him or her.” How are the children of artists haunted by the unrealized lives/works of their parents? What does this sense of erasure do to frame the artistic work of generations to come? And what can be restored of those unrealized lives and stories if we consider the literary efforts of Senna’s (white) mother, Fanny Howe? Her aunt Susan? Her husband Percival?

In this craft course, we will delve into one family’s bibliography: Danzy Senna’s Caucasia and Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Fanny Howe’s The Wedding Dress and Winter Sun, Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson, and Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell. Though not all these texts are nonfiction, they constitute a vibrant, genre fluid archive. We can trace through these narratives the way that history is absorbed and alchemized by members of one tree. We will study the different registers of voice—poetic, polemic, analytical, satirical. We will look for the ways that America itself gets remapped, re-contextualized, and rediscovered. Through independent projects, you will locate and write about a literary family that fascinates you.

ENGLISH 569 - Writing Workshop in Creative Non-Fiction
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 6:00PM - 9:00PM
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