The Lyric Essay (International Course)

The Lyric Essay (International Course)

Bring the process of essay writing closer to the sensibility of the lyric form

This course will look at the lyric essay, a genre-mixing attempt to bring the process of essay writing closer to the sensibility of the lyric form. A relatively new category of writing – not quite poem, narrative, memoir, nor an idea-driven essay, but something ‘other’, recently popularised by writers such as Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine – the lyric essay is less dependent on “good ideas” than genuine thought, the quirky details the mind reaches for and the associations between that propel the thought process in a direction that has the potential to provoke the reader at a more poetic level. We are generally taught to imitate forms of logic that other minds can easily follow, but what happens if we trust the intuitive impulse that moves our mind from one thought to another without trying to organize it into a recognizable form we imagine our reader will understand?  The first step will be to attune ourselves to our inner voice, the trail of logic created by our individual minds in the process of thinking, bringing those raw forms to our writing. We will then read Sei Shonagon, Montaigne, Basho, Pessoa, David Shields, Joan Didion, Thalia Field, Rebecca Solnit, and explore how other artists have delved through the form, stalking their subjects without ever merely explaining or telling the story straight.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.

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About Nuar Alsadir View Profile

Nuar Alsadir is a poet, writer and psychoanalyst. Her most recent book, Fourth Person Singular, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2017. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Granta, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Grand Street, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, tender, Poetry London and The Poetry Review; and a collection of her poems, More Shadow Than Bird, was published by Salt in 2012. She is on the faculty at New York University, a fellow at The New York Institute for the Humanities, and works as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York.

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