“Flaubert said that whatever you invent is true, even though you may not understand what the truth of it is." - William Maxwell
“Seriously, fuck genres." - Emily Dickinson
Do you find yourself drawn to the liminal spaces of artmaking, creating and admiring those works that evade categorization and push the limits of form? You’re not alone, and hopefully this class will prove meaningful for you. If your haikus transmogrify into Wendell Berryesque essays that shift again into botanical illustrations, then we’ll lean into those tendencies! What is the difference between a prose poem and a lyric fragment anyhow? A novelistic memoir and an autobiographical work of fiction?
In this course we shall familiarize ourselves with published works of genre non-conforming art, create original and ambitious works that challenge conceptions of form, and earnestly listen to our art as we bring it to a state of resolution upon its own unique terms. Writers of all experience levels and artistic backgrounds are encouraged to join this class. Whether this is your very first organized workshop or fourtieth, we welcome you!
This class will meet over our video chat platform. You will need to use Google Chrome to join your class meetings.
- Read skull-busting examples of published genre non-conforming art from daring human artists! We’ll fall in love all over again with some classics and hopefully discover a few new gems
- Explore the panoply of mouth-watering choices at our buffet of hybrid forms! Yeah, I know we said “to heck with genre classifications” but before we blaze new trails it is important to pour over the old maps...
- Create original work inspired by the genre-bending art we love and then produce new work that challenges pre-existing formal conceptions and pushes the boundaries of those stodgy genre-based classifications of the past
- Finish! Finito! One of our goals is to arrive at some form of finish, some state of polish, and or some forum of publication for our original work. It’s my desire to help each artist discover some personally meaningful way of celebrating and sharing their wholly original genre-bending art. Past classes have made a zine, former students have had their course work published in real life lit mags. How we bring closure and finish this artmaking endeavour is totally up to us!
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
We shall have weekly readings pertaining to our lessons. We shall create original writing, and edit our work. There is no minimum or maximum word count or page limit for submissions, just aim to keep it manageable. Expect to devote a few hours each week to readings and workshopping. Each student is encouraged but not obligated to submit for workshop. No more than two submissions per student. We should all provided some form of constructive written feedback for the author of each submission.
Week 1: COOL WORLD IS RATED R: The Graphic Memoir, Adult Cartoons, and the art of Visual Adaptations
Week 2: LIKE SAPPHO MEETS MAGGIE NELSON MEETS DARIA: The Lyric Fragment and other mutable runes of memory, loss, and longing.
Week 3: REVEREND, THE ONLY REASON I DID IT IS TO FIND OUT WHAT IT’S LIKE…: Narrative Poems, Flash Fiction, and other excuses to listen to Arthur Russell
Week 4: DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN TO YOU? Autobiographical fiction or the “Novel from Life”
Week 5: GENERATIVE STUDIO
Week 6: SALON & BRINGING IT HOME
Timothy Taranto is a painter, poet, and author from New York. He is the author of ARS BOTANICA, awarded Best Genre-Bending Nonfiction of 2017 by BOOK RIOT, a Books Are Magic Staff Pick, and a Top 5 Book of 2017 by Women & Children First. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, BuzzFeed, The Paris Review Daily, and The Believer, among many others. Taranto is a graduate of Cornell and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was a 2016 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference Emerging Writing Fellow, and has taught at the University of Iowa, Cornell College, and the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop.
"Tim is an approachable, well-read instructor that will push you to re-evaluate that which you take for granted and encourage your creative wanderings. His classes are simultaneously fun while also making you think critically."
“ARS BOTANICA is a gorgeous hybrid: a memoir in letters to a phantom addressee, an introduction to life on this planet, a primer for how to live, a meditation on family. It also winds up being a beautiful and highly personal field guide to the natural world. It’s one of the most wrenching and honest accounts of falling in and out of love, of moving through a season of grief, that I’ve ever read.”
“Taranto's memoir of love and loss is rich and raw, finely wrought, and viscerally haunting, heralding the arrival of an accomplished and exciting new writer.”
“Tim runs a generous and insightful, well-structured workshop. He asks thoughtful questions about what the writer wants to achieve in a specific piece and listens carefully before giving useful feedback. He fosters a supportive and fun environment, but also challenges folks to look deeper, work harder. I learned to see the opportunities for improvement in the piece before us and apply those insights to my own work. He gives guidance on how to build compelling narrative and strong structure. He is lyrical about the narrative consciousness in a way that has transformed how I read and write.”
“Tim is not only a beautiful writer, he’s one of the kindest and most passionate teachers around. He is deeply invested in his students and devotes himself fully to helping them close the gap between their manuscript and their vision. From the first session, Tim curated a warm, thought-provoking, and generous culture in the workshop. He will be a mentor to me for years to come. I would recommend him to anyone at any stage of their writing life.”
“Tim Taranto is an incredibly caring person and that kindheartedness directly translates to the way he impacts students in the classroom with his teaching. Tim taught me at the Iowa Young Writers’ Conference at Iowa University during 2017. Since then, Tim has continued to mentor me and help me along my journey as a writer and I’m endlessly grateful for all Tim has done for me. His poetic knowledge and passion for the arts is unmatched, and if you’re lucky enough to be in one of his classes, I’m positive you’ll see what I mean!”
“Tim Taranto is a literary evangelist in the best sense of the word. His inexhaustible enthusiasm for the vocation of writing comes through from the first moments of class. He doesn't present himself as an all-knowing expert of the craft. Instead, he has the uncanny ability to pose the thought-provoking questions his students need to interrogate their own work and find the best way through. If you have a creative spark, he's going to do his damnedest to set it ablaze.”