The Personal Essay
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: MFA Creative Writing Program
Department: Writing Program
Course Number: NWRW 3423
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Non-fiction
  • Creative Writing
  • Literature
This is a workshop for those particularly interested in writing essays using skills and tools often associated with other genres and art forms. Writers with comic or poetic sensibilities and an interest in the aesthetic value of surprise are encouraged to enroll. We read two essays weekly—one by a humorist, one by a poet—and discuss their strengths separately and in juxtaposition. Students also write weekly, and their work is reviewed in a supportive workshop setting. Guest authors visit, and publications and presses are discussed. We read from Woody Allen, Jonathan Ames, Margaret Atwood, Max Beerbohm, Robert Benchley, Wendell Berry, Charles Bukowski, Anne Carson, Annie Dillard, Nora Ephron, Louise Glück, Ian Frazier, Robert Hass, Edward Hirsch, Fran Lebowitz, David Lehman, Steve Martin, Czeslaw Milosz, Montaigne, Naomi Shihab Nye, David Rakoff, Adrienne Rich, Mark Rudman, May Sarton, David Shields, David Sedaris, Floyd Skloot, Tom Sleigh, Jon Stewart, James Thurber, Sarah Vowell, and Adam Zagajewski.
Course Open to: Degree Students