Five Saturdays, Aug. 17-Sept. 21 (skip Aug. 31) 2-4:30 pm
$215 members/$245 others   
San Francisco
Student Testimonials


“They scarcely spoke all day. His father rode sitting forward slightly in the saddle, holding the reins in one hand about two inches above the saddlehorn. So thin and frail, lost in his clothes.

Looking over the country with those sunken eyes as if the world out there had been altered or made suspect by what he’d seen elsewhere. As if he might never see it right again. Or worse did see it right at last.”–Cormac McCarthy

What is that elusive something that makes us fall in love with a writer? Cormac McCarthy combines soaring lyricism with nail-driven, hard western tones, while Toni Morrison brings to life lost histories through a kaleidoscope of unusual phrasing.  Dynamic writing has rhythm, texture, even physicality.

“Look at the work of great writers: Their sentences collide and interlock to create music. Some writing sings; others falls flat,” says instructor Katia Noyes.

In this class, says Katia, “We will study short excerpts from favorite writers to help us develop the inner ear and listen for what makes writing sing. We’ll discuss a spectrum of writing and look for distinctive style (how sentence structure plays on the page). Then we will examine our own writing, see what habitual patterns we have, and choose whether to exaggerate or break them. I want to teach the class I wish I’d had as a new writer, a class that would have encouraged both attention to and enjoyment of the subtleties and majesty in one simple paragraph.”

Class exercises will include copying excerpts, dissecting sentences, contrasting writers’ rhythms, and creative writing improvisations using music, slang, and parody.

NOTE: This is not a “workshopping” class per se. If you need more clarification, feel free to ask Jane:

Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossomed things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down to their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful, beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Even their footsteps left a smell of smoke behind.”–Toni Morrison

Katia Noyes danced in companies in New York and San Francisco, before becoming a dance critic, and then a novelist. She is the author of Crashing America, nominated for four awards, listed on LGBT top ten lists in the UK and US, and currently being adapted for film. Her novel about idealism, art, and war, A Partial History of My Delusions, was recently excerpted in Criminal Class Review, and she has published essays in various anthologies, including For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth about their Bodies, Getting Older, and Acceptance.

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