In Time and Out of It
In this course, we’ll explore the ways in which the timeline that governs most fiction can open into spaces of timelessness. Whether achieved by means of metaphor or a shift in perspective, through the use of history or myth, it seems that stepping outside the temporal frame of a story may often yield an expansion of its meaning. We’ll read fiction by Munro, Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Joyce, Trevor, Edward P. Jones, Proust, Woolf, Chekhov, Duras, Mann—and some poetry, as well: Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Cavafy, etc. A couple of stories and poems or a section of a novel will be assigned each week, as well, as a craft exercise that relates to the readings. These exercises for the most part will be written out of class. (I’ll be glad to look at them, although they aren't required to be handed in.) At the end of each class, we’ll talk about general questions of craft: beginnings and endings, audience, self-censorship, voice, perseverance, etc. We’ll also make space in the final weeks of the semester for short presentations in which students explore the hidden avenues that led to their art.