HUGO HOUSE COURSE: The Unconventional Memoir

Through close readings and discussions we will unravel unusual memoir structures. In weekly workshops, we will encourage experimentation, risk-taking, and convention-breaking. Prompts will invite novices to develop new ideas and challenge seasoned writers to slip the restraints of dull drafts. By defying expectations, we will create writing that crackles with surprise. When we discover how innovative authors such as Danilo Kis, Vladimir Nabokov, and Marie NDiaye address questions of history, honesty, and memory, we will become daring memoirists. 2015

Hugo House Course: Cut to the Quick; Flash NONfiction 

Through reading, discussion, and workshop, we will explore the wilderness where short prose-poems meet concise lyrical essays and micro-narratives. Writers at every level will study the anatomy, behavior, and language of nonfiction miniatures like poem-essay hybrids. The expedition may encounter sharp-toothed truth, winged lyricism, and mini-memoirs traveling in book-length flocks. Writing prompts will help us capture these creatures. Our guides will include Judith Kitchen, Lia Purpura, Diane Seuss, and the king of brevity, Dinty W. Moore. 2014

Hugo House Course: Dream Logic in Writing

From Gogol to Kafka to contemporary poets like Richard Siken, writers have accomplished literary feats with what Nabokov called “irrational insight.” This generative class will examine how great authors in every genre have dispensed with exposition and the laws of reality by introducing the logic of dreams into their writing. Students will produce one short piece, participate in weekly discussions of short assigned readings, and write from prompts in an effort to mine the “private abyss.” 2014