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Once relegated to the realm of belles lettres, the lyric essay has become a highly popular genre, appearing in a breadth of markets from journalism to the personal essay. But what is it precisely? Poetic essay, essayistic poem, both, or neither? The lyric essay employs a series of images or ideas, rather than chronicle or argument, to sculpt narratives. Often inconclusive, lyric essays reach beyond archetypal classical frames to a meditative sense of place and displacement.
“Folks often want to know, who is the official standard-bearer for lyric essayists?” says Lyzette. “And the truth is that authors from Didion and Dillard to Forché and Purpura have written them. In this workshop we’ll begin by identifying key components of the form, learn how to negotiate its terrain, and then get down to the business of crafting one.”
Students will fine-tune and revise their work, concluding the workshop with a finished piece. Prior experience in writing fiction or poetry is strongly recommended.