States of America, Plural

Course description. In late cuz I be worked hard and in grief and perplexed.


Creative Writing Seminar: Creative Non-Fiction: “States of America, Plural”

Works of creative nonfiction are inherently plural. Multiple storylines, many angles of approach. At times we resist this plurality, want to make an essay singular, unified, find a single speaker, one tone, give it nice neat arc, a clear theme. The premise of this class is, what a shame it’d be if we could. We’ll be interested here in nonfiction that embraces plurality and builds it into its formal body. Multiple viewpoints. Braided storylines. Image and text juxtaposed uncomfortably. Unwanted erasure defiantly embraced. Oh, and meanwhile, back at the ranch, America too is inherently plural, as recent social and political upheavals have brought to light. America’s got the same questions going on – are we one by being narrowly one, or one by being broadly many? E pluribus unum, yo? So while we’ll focus, as we should, on students’ own creative explorations, they’ll be informed by texts that argue, in plural ways, that plurality is our power. Namely, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me; Claudia Rankine, Citizen; Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts; Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantánamo Diary. Evaluation will be based on a writing journal, regular creative exercises, co-teaching of part of one of the assigned texts, a final portfolio of mindfully and heartfully revised work, and active energetic participation in all aspects of our work together.


What would it be to manifest diversity without recourse to the word diversity? Am I just a Trumpy grump here? I don’t think so. Quick analogy, I only believe patriots who wave or wear no flag. NO – the patriot I most believed ever was the one waving the US flag upside down. Oh, he loved his country truly, and I honked my horn. I wave diversity likewise. It’s become a cloying sameness.

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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

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