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CNF 104 — Memoir and Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Storytelling and Imagery

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Leslie Contreras Schwartz
Duration: 9 weeks
Format/Location: Live Online
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 26
Class Recording Available: Yes
Class Meeting Day: Mondays
 
Class Meeting Time: 5:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Please Note: No class on July 15
Tuition: $685
   
Refund Deadline: Jun 26
 
Unit(s): 2
   
Enrollment Limit: 21
  
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Day: Mondays
Duration: 9 weeks
Time: 5:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 26
Unit(s): 2
Format/Location: Live Online
 
Tuition: $685
 
Refund Deadline: Jun 26
 
Instructor(s): Leslie Contreras Schwartz
 
Enrollment Limit: 21
 
Recording Available: Yes
 
Status: Open
 
Please Note: No class on July 15
 
Compelling memoirs and personal essays capture the journey of discovery, creating a narrative that is both truthful and an act of excavation. Storytelling in creative nonfiction carries the power to build worlds by creating narratives around true and meaningful experiences. Through the power of imagery, glittering landscapes, and intimate spaces and encounters, narratives can move beyond the retelling of a story and enact experiences through specificity—engaging readers in ways that move them and carry impact.

This course will help students practice and strengthen storytelling techniques and build upon writing from prompts, rough drafts, and the development of imagery and sensory details to complete a polished short narrative. We will explore storytelling techniques that focus on experiences that bewilder or mystify us and learn how to deepen the meaning of our resultant insights. Readings will include Jesmyn Ward, Louise Erdrich, Matthew Gavin Frank, James Baldwin, Barry Lopez, Joan Didion, Carmen Maria Machado, and others. We will draw from raw experience to write new material, shape these narratives, and work toward an edited piece. Students will have the opportunity to share their work in small-group workshops, as well as submit a new personal essay or memoir excerpt (up to 5,000 words) for instructor feedback.

LESLIE CONTRERAS SCHWARTZ
Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing, Alma College; Lecturer, Rice University

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, the 2019–21 Houston Poet Laureate, and the author of the 2022 C&R Press Nonfiction Prize winner, From the Womb of Sky and Earth, a lyrical memoir. She has published four collections of poetry. Her work has appeared on Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day and in AGNI, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, and The Best Small Fictions 2019. Contreras Schwartz is a poetry and nonfiction faculty member at Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing and a lecturer at Rice University, where she received a BA in English. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lex Wiliford(ed.) and Michael Martone(ed.), Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, 1st edition (ISBN 978-1416531746)