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Wild Tales: Writing Lyrical Nature / Eco Essays


This four-week intensive writing class is a combination of generative writing prompts, readings, in-class writings and feedback. Writing about one’s experience in nature or the wild is an American tradition. Writing about ecological problems is relatively new. We will explore ways that writers have written in lyric essays about the natural/wild world. Often these essays are rooted in the writer’s experience in the natural world. Sometimes these essays border on memoir. Other times, these lyric essays are more scientific and depend on research about wild animals, plants, effects of climate changes, water systems, ocean conservation, fracking, exploitation of public lands, and others. We will read a variety of essays written by Linda Hogan, Barry Lopez, Alice Walker, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Terry Tempest Williams, Louise Erdrich, Charles Bowden, Luis Alberto Urrea, Camille Dungy, Brenda Peterson, Rick Bass, David Quammen and more. Topics covered include Climate Change, Endangered Species, an Indigenous view of the environment, Urban Nature, Wilderness Preservation, environmental border issues and the like. The goal of this writing intensive is transformation, empowerment, and learning writing techniques by exploring the lyric nature or ecological essay. We will also devote at least one session to exploring powerful methods to weave poetry and prose to create an essay. Participants will be provided with prompts and writing exercises, and given time to write. Because we have a few weeks, written feedback for participant writings will also be provided. Finally, we will discuss ways to get participant writing into print or online magazines.

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