The Genre of the Sentence
The writer’s work is to make sentences. Everything else is secondary. But too often, our intentions blind us to the sentences that we are actually making—or we feel that, somehow, form or genre is more important than the sentence itself. This workshop will scrutinize your nonfiction prose, looking for the opportunities, the energy, the clarity that may be lying hidden there. We’ll be aided by many other writers—Auden, Didion, McPhee, Baldwin, Joseph Roth, Kapuscinski, Dillard, Oates, etc. We’ll be thinking about writing as an act of discovery and the sentence as the smallest unit of perception. That means we’ll be using your writing. I’ll expect you to be writing something new each week for this course, and we’ll all be reading each other’s work every week as we go through the semester. The goal is, quite simply, to clarify the act of discovering sentences and, in doing so, discovering the better writer within you.