Essays: Personal, Lyrical, Bodily

Essay Writing Workshop Description

Tell your story. Discover and explore your organic voice and share your personal, lyrical and body narratives in gripping and essential ways. This essay writing workshop will teach you how to not only compose your narratives, but also how to make your narratives compelling. This workshop will focus on how to create narrative flow within your essay, improve craft techniques such as pace and rhythm, find the best structure to suit your narrative, and revision.

Included, you’ll find a collection of The New Yorker‘s Shouts & Murmurs, a short short essay column focused on current event rants. Also selections from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency‘s Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond, Women Who Should Be Pretty Pissed Off and more.

Essay Writing Goals

  • To identify and read exemplary personal essays, lyric essays and body narratives as a foundational study to creating your own;
  • To generate new drafts of essays;
  • To provide critical feedback on your essays so you can revise and make them as strong as it can be;
  • To help you further strengthen your knowledge of various essay forms and to provide you with the environment to better understand your individual voice so you can apply this to future works;
  • To help you learn and improve on the techniques of writing and self-editing so that you are aware of your preferred forms and boundaries and be able to consider how you might push your preferred forms into your best essay craft.

Course Contributors

Chelsey Clammer is the 2015 winner of the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award for her creative thesis, Circadian. She is a Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist who has been published in The RumpusEssay DailyThe Water~Stone Review and Black Warrior Review, among many others. She is the Essays Editor for The Nervous BreakdownHer first collection of essaysBodyHome, was released in 2015. Her second collection, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub. Clammer is currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program. 

Rae BryantRae Bryant is the author of the short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals. Her stories and essays have appeared in print and online at  The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Diagram, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s, New World Writing, Gargoyle Magazine,and Redivider, among other publications and have been nominated for the Pen/Hemingway, Pen Emerging Writers, &NOW Award and Pushcart Prize. She has won awards in fiction from Whidbey Writers and The Johns Hopkins University as well as fellowships from the VCCA and Hopkins to write, study and teach in Florence. She earned a Masters in Writing from Hopkins where she continues to teach creative writing and is editor in chief of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. She has also taught in the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa. Rae is the director of The Eckleburg Workshops. Rae is a member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP, NBCC, CLMP and Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. She is represented by Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.