Registration for our Summer 2019 courses is now open! Check out our course descriptions below.
Lang 371: Liberated Literature: Experiments with Flash Fiction
Instructor: Scott Branson
Do you silence yourself with the thought that everything has been written before, and put more beautifully? When you prepare yourself to write, do you feel the collective weight of literary history bearing down on you? Have people tried to teach you the correct rules and the methods to be a writer? Flash fiction--or as it sometimes also known, microfiction or "prose poetry"—is a liberated form of writing, paying no heed to the rules of normal fiction. It may have narrative structure, distill the effusion of a feeling, or simply present a verbal collage. As a condensed form, it can communicate the emotional breadth of a novel in a page. It can bring out rhythmic and musical aspects of language in the form of a prose block splashing across the page. With sly reflexivity, it could be a memoir; or maybe just a joke. There is no limit on the form or content: if it makes you feel or think, then it works.
In this course, we will experiment with language and style by writing flash fiction. Though there will be exercises, writers will have freedom to explore style and content they desire. The goal is to approach flash fiction as a form of collective and individual empowerment. We will read examples of flash fiction as well as essays on craft, but the focus will be on workshopping. Each writer will develop a selection of stories they have the opportunity to revise and rework.
Scott Branson is a poet, artist, organizer, and teacher based in Asheville. Scott has taught in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program at UNC Asheville, Hampshire College, Amherst College, and University of Massachusetts. Scott was a key organizer of the 2018 UNCA Queer Studies Conference on prison abolition, and just helped lead Breaking Cages,
Building Community, Queering Justice: A Symposium on Abolition + Queer/Trans Liberation at Davidson College with Charlotte Uprising. Most recently, Scott’s poetry has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine and Matter. Their chapbook of words and abstract image, EAH, is now available.
Lang 371: The Story Behind the Story: A Creative Prose Workshop
Instructor: Abigail DeWitt
Most of us have a story from our lives that we regularly share with others: It might be a moment from childhood, or the story of an important relationship; it might be the death of a loved one, or a tale of adventure. Often, we’ve told the story so many times that it has become a “set piece”—a story we can tell without thinking. In this class, we’ll look behind
our own stories to discover, as Eudora Welty said, “what [we] don’t know about what [we] know.” Each week, we’ll do several in-class writing exercises to uncover what we may have forgotten, especially the sensory details—all the smells and tastes and colors and sounds and textures—associated with an event. We’ll also practice viewing our experiences from
multiple points of view to see how perspective affects perception. We’ll discover how every story contains a multitude of stories, and by the end of the course, you will have new tools for developing those hidden narratives. Students are invited to read their work aloud, but no one is required to do so, and the course does not involve critiquing. Everyone is welcome,
from beginners to published authors—all you need is paper, a writing instrument, and a willingness to be surprised by the richness and mystery of your own stories.
Abigail DeWitt is the author of three novels, Lili (WW Norton), Dogs (Lorimer Press), and News of Our Loved Ones (HarperCollins). Her short fiction has appeared in Narrative, Five Points, Witness, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has been cited in Best American Short Stories, nominated for a Pushcart, and has received grants and fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Tyrone Guthrie Center, the McColl Center for the Arts, and the Michener Society. She has taught creative writing at Appalachian State, UNC-Asheville, Harvard University Summer School, and the Table Rock Writers Workshop (formerly the Duke Writers Workshop).
Lang 371: Turning Points: Writing the Personal Essay
Instructor: Marjorie Klein
We remember particular events or experiences when our lives changed; often those turning points were monumental. But sometimes, it’s the little moments that change us the most, creating, in their accumulation, the complex people we are now. Our lives are constantly evolving, and we are the sum total of events both large and small.
Each week we will write from prompts that focus on a specific time when something happened that took us on a path that led to the rest of our lives. Week 1 will be devoted to childhood; Week 2 to adolescence; Week 3 to adulthood; and Week 4 to recent revelations. By the fifth week, we will have completed a finished essay inspired by those prompts that will be shared and discussed in our last class. I will email relevant works that illustrate various authors; approaches to their essays, and how they employed the craft of writing to get there.
Marjorie Klein's first novel, Test Pattern (Wm. Morrow Publishers, 2000; HarperCollins/ Perennial 2001, now an e-book) was a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection. Her narrative nonfiction has appeared in various publications, including 20 years of free-lance work for Tropic, the Miami Herald's former Sunday magazine. Recipient of a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, she served as a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for 13 years and is a member of the Flatiron Writers group in Asheville. She has taught at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Warren Wilson College, The Great Smokies Writing Program, and UNC Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Lang 371: Dream Prompts: Using Your Subconscious to Write Picture Books
Instructor: Linda Lowery
Linda Lowery is a New York Times bestselling author of 65 fiction and non-fiction books for young readers from ages 2 to 12. Her books have been honored on “Best Books of the Year” lists from the American Library Association, Bank Street
College, Publishers Weekly, The NY Times, Parents Magazine, and the International Society of School Librarians. Her newest picture book Pants! was entirely inspired by a dream.
Lang 371: Slowing the News: A Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Carolyn Ogburn
movements (slow food, slow craft), this course will invite us to “slow” the news cycle through poetry. Taking its inspiration from the website, www.PoetsReadingTheNews.com, we’ll be responding to the news cycle through poetry. We’ll be focusing on a different poetic form for each class: sonnets, pantoums, terza rima, blank verse, and erasure poetry.
Each week, we’ll do several in-class writing exercises to settle ourselves into the poetic form of that week. We’ll then respond to some aspect of the news that week---don’t worry, there will be plenty to choose from! Students will be encouraged to share their work aloud, but no one is required to, and this course does not include critiquing. All you need is a curious spirit, a willingness to listen, and a desire to respond in a new way.
Carolyn Ogburn is the Director of Accessibility Services at UNC Asheville and teaches in the MLAS program of which she's also a graduate. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has been published in The Missouri Review, Empty Mirror, Poetry International Online, Our State Magazine, and others. She has been a regular blogger for Ploughshares, and a contributing editor for Numero Cinq. She’s received fellowships from Ragdale Foundation and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.