Lia Purpura’s Workshop and Craft Talk

Workshop:  Writing the Lyric Essay:
Intuition, Intention, and Imagination

Lyric essays, creatures that shimmer between poetry and prose, might seem at first to be inward-looking forms. But, really, it’s by looking outward, forming ongoing relationships with the world around us, and creating a reliable practice of engagement that we open up possibilities for surprise and authentic discovery – and, thrillingly, find our language changing.

Rather than focusing on expressing ourselves (one of the core assumptions about why writers write!), we’ll be roaming and bumping into ourselves in unexpected ways, discovering new forms, subjects, and ways of engaging landscapes, artifacts, memories, and more. In other words, we’ll be rewilding our practices and thinking about what, specifically, the lyric essay might invite in and make possible. (Readings will be sent out before class, and workshop will be a combination of discussion, exercises, and sharing work).

Lia Purpura’s Workshop
Saturday, August 24, 2024:
10:00 AM-4:00 PM

$200. Limited seating!
(Includes lunch)
Click here for workshop tickets!

Craft Talk: The “Impersonal” Essay, or “Step Away from the Self”

We know, pretty much, what a “personal” essay has in store for us as readers: likely a life story, potentially a complex one that’s been hard to tell, and that, in its generosity opens compassion, insight, and ways of understanding in others.

But what about, say, the “Impersonal Essay?” Uh-oh. That doesn’t sound good, does it. I mean it this way: What might happen when one is intent on a more outward focus, on an object, a word, a concept? Say, a lichen. The word “Gunmetal”. The idea of tenderness as a response to the apocalypse. What might come of looking deeply at, say, the underseen, the unbeautiful, the overlooked, the potentially ugly or worn, even?

What happens when one enters the act of looking so deeply one forgets oneself, and, by surprise, unexpectedly finds oneself in a new place, with a surprising stance or changed belief or fuller way of being? I’ll start here and see where it takes me –and us!

Lia Purpura’s Craft Talk
Saturday, August 31, 2024: 5:00 PM
No charge! Limited seating!
Please register! (So that we can make enough food!)

Lia’s talk will be followed by a reception and buffet dinner

Lia Purpura

Lia Purpura

Lia Purpura is the author of ten collections, including essays, poems, translations and artists’ books. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for On Looking (essays), her awards include Guggenheim, NEA, and Fulbright Fellowships, as well as five Pushcart Prizes, the AWP Award and others.  Her work appears in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Agni, Emergence, and elsewhere. Purpura has served as Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Loyola University; other teaching venues include the Rainier Writing Workshop, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction MFA program, as well as workshops at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, and the Glenwood Life Recovery Center. Her newest collections are It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems) and All the Fierce Tethers (essays).