This class will attend to the potential of poetics in prose through the discussion of our varied readings and the practice of generative writing exercises. Whether you're a prose writer intimidated by poetry or a poet hoping to read more prose, writing in between or without genre, all are welcome to join this reading community around fiction and nonfiction specifically by poets. We will explore and collapse the bounds of genre as we read excerpts each week from novels, memoirs, and essays with attention to the bridging of form and content, and examination of image, sound, and voice. No experience is required or assumed.
Readings will include essays by Hanif Abdurraqib and Audre Lorde, chapters from novels by Paul Beatty and Anne Carson, and excerpts from memoirs by Langston Hughes, Mary Karr, and Tracy K. Smith (readings can evolve based on student interest and goals, and all work will be made available online). Writing to in-class prompts in relation to readings, students will share their works in progress casually in class, but rather than a traditional workshop format, all feedback will be generative rather than evaluative. Writers will have the opportunity to try an at-home assignment during the course and receive detailed feedback from the instructor. You will leave class with new original work and a revitalized approach to reading and writing prose.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Learn to read prose with attention to poetics
- Write with new structures, images, and voices in class each week
- Discuss reading and writing practice in one-on-one meeting with instructor
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
In this seminar, you can expect to read 20-50 pages of prose before each class, write in response to prompts during each class, and extend one piece outside of class for instructor feedback once over the four weeks. You will get verbal feedback to works in progress shared in class, and can opt in to meet with the instructor about your writing, but there will be no written feedback in class.
Week 1: The Poetics of Memory
Discussion on writing time, space, and childhood
Week 2: The Poetics of Judgment
Discussion on writing opinion, evaluation, and manifesto
Week 3: The Poetics of Worship
Discussion on writing religion, grief, and intimacy
Week 4: The Poetics of Futures
Discussion on writing hope, symbol, and revolution
Cindy Juyoung Ok is an assistant editor at Guernica and has writing out now or soon in spaces like Bennington Review, Colorado Review, and The Yale Review. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she received the Capote, Rydson, and Rosenberg Fellowships, she has taught undergraduate and high school creative writing as well as through nonprofits, libraries, and residencies.
"Amongst the frenzy of work and school every week, I treasured the two hours I had in Cindy’s class. It was a relaxed, comfortable and focused space in which I could connect through workshops and projects and learn more about writing at the same time. Her gentle encouragement of every student in the class brought us all together for lively and insightful conversations, and as we became more comfortable around each other it became easier to share our thoughts and ideas. She taught us to critique ours and other’s work in a respectful and effective manner, and it was incredible to watch everyone’s writing improve drastically over the semester. Cindy’s passion for creative writing was contagious and I found myself looking forward to writing each assigned poem, essay, and story."
"Cindy was knowledgeable and flexible, and listened to what kinds of readings and topics we were interested in and made adjustments to the schedule based on that, which I appreciated. Cindy's comments in workshop and in the post-workshop letters were always insightful, and often brought up new and interesting points about the pieces that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. I liked the way our workshops were set up, and that we had the agency to decide how we wanted them to go."
"Cindy’s teaching embodies what online instruction should look like. She asked us questions to push deeper thinking, encouraged everyone to share their views. I view her class so highly among other professors because she continuously made the effort to show each of her students that she cared about us as individuals. Feeling that my contribution to her class mattered, I felt more willing to do my best work. I found comfort in a place I had once felt uncertain about, and I think that means that I grew not only as a writer, but as an individual. While I was motivated to do so, I strongly believe that it was because of Cindy’s drive to keep us all engaged in learning. "