Human experience, and fiction, is born from physical perception. This makes the senses a writer’s most precious tool. Since the pandemic has reduced the scope of our usual activities, it is crucial to practice our skills at finding the extraordinary in the everyday, the sublime in the mundane and the unusual in the familiar. The course is dedicated to honing the senses, analyzing, discussing and trying out strategies for how best to render embodied experience on the page.
We will also discuss questions of craft including point of view, setting, characterization, and pacing. Participants will be asked to carry out fieldwork between sessions and generate their own writing in class.
You will come out of the course with sharpened scene-writing skills, at least three story drafts, a daily writing practice and a method for delivering on-the-spot feedback to peers.
Authors discussed include Lynda Barry, Marcel Proust, Patrick Süskind, Vladimir Nabokov, Ursula K. Le Guin, Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, Jamaica Kincaid. This course is adapted for literary nonfiction writers as well as fiction writers and best suited for those wishing to generate new writing.
Anna Polonyi holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, an MA in journalism and a BA in history and literature from Harvard University. She is a recipient of a Fulbright for Young American Journalists, the Richard E. Guthrie Fellowship and Sylvia Beach Short Fiction Prize. She has worked as a reporter for Foreign Policy, The International New York Times, Agence France Press, Radio France Internationale and others. Her chapbook of poems, Wayword, is out with Finishing Line Press and she has taught creative writing with the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking, the University of Iowa, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and WICE.