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Students will examine – through their own work and others’ – how nonfiction writers must shape information to render people on the page in a way that is honest and engaging.
In this class, we’ll read personal essays, mostly contemporary American, and poems from all over.
We'll read some essays that are built along traditional lines (chronological, logical, etc.) and some that are segmented and nonlinear.
As such, our readings will focus on a large range of contemporary writers, many of whose work either directly invoke genre hybridity, or challenge conventional formal categorization.
A small sampling of these writers include Lydia Davis, Leslie Scalapino, Anne Boyer, César Aira, and Bhanu Kapil.
Health reporting ceases to be a source of information and instead leads to widespread confusion, frustration, and even apathy.
Journalists aren’t necessarily to blame for this problem, but when they report on each new study without critically analyzing the scientific research behind it, today’s health writers inadvertently add to misinformation and public confusion.We’ll dig into readings from a wide range of sources, from Sei Shōnagon’s 10th century Pillow Book through George Saunders’s 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.This seminar-style course is designed for students interested in experimenting with both memoir and fiction, and is appropriate for any level of experience, from curious beginners to accomplished writers. This workshop-style course will serve as an introduction to writing across a wide breadth of genres, including (but not limited to) fiction, poetry, and essays.Through a series of readings, writing activities, and workshops, we will explore the art of navigating health and medical research, crafting our own original pieces of reporting.Class guests will include prominent journalists, scientists, and economists.We’ll read, and write, prose poems and perhaps some forms of your own design.The class is structured along familiar discussion/workshop designs.Course requirements include thoughtful and committed class participation, regular writing assignments, and a final portfolio of work written over the course of the semester.This is a nontraditional “poetry immersion” workshop.Each week, participants will discuss the writing they have done as well as the assigned reading.Before enrolling, please review the syllabus at writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/syllabi/111