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Writing Lyric Essays with Jennifer Denrow

Jennifer Dunrow is teaching “Writing the Lyric Essay” this month at Literary Arts, which has sold out! Stay tuned for future classes with her, and get to know Denrow below in our brief Q&A:

What inspired you to teach this class?

The first time I facilitated this workshop, I was inspired by John D’Agata’s anthology, The Next American Essay. I had been reading essays that felt as much like poems as they did essays, which led me to this anthology. After having facilitated the workshop a few times, I am now inspired to run it because of the work that is generated by the writers in the workshop. I love watching these essays develop, and I love considering, with the writer and the group, the choices that were made in the construction of the essay.

What part of this class are you most excited about?

My favorite part of the class is the work that is generated—how exploratory it is. Working in between genres, especially for people that have never experimented in this way, can lead writers into places they didn’t expect to arrive in, so there is a huge discovery component to this workshop, or at least there has been in the past, and I believe that it’s an important event to discover things with other people. Embracing uncertainty in writing, and opening oneself to the unknown, can allow new parts of the self to emerge, and engender new relationships to language.  

What do you hope students will gain from taking this class?

A new or remembered sense of exploration during the writing process, and an essay that feels important to the writers and helps them express something they had been struggling to express.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

The writers and the writing.




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