Spring 2018

Truth Tales: Truth Telling Across the Genres - A Writing Workshop

Fall 2014
Subject Area: 
Course Number: 
ENGL 410 640
Wednesday 5:30pm-8:10pm


Primary Program: 
Master of Liberal Arts
Course Description: 

What is your truth?  What tales do you most want to tell, and how can you best tell them?  Each genre of writing holds a key to literature’s virtual reality machine, calling us to engage/ imagine/ believe it.  Truth Tales surveys the writing genres, along with their corollaries in the other arts–epic/visual arts, dramatic/ performance arts, and lyric/music—navigating the slip-slide of fact & fiction that each modality offers.  In the epic mode imagery brings language to life and abstract ideas to light in the mind.  Imagery creates the physical world of fiction and conveys the subjective realities of poems and arguments of essays.  In the epic mode we explore the transfer of categories of meaning which metaphor governs, along with the image's great project: animation--the ultimate sense of the real.  The dramatic mode points to the dynamics of representation and the event of the text.  It prods the beach rubble as Sappho would say, taking us into the back alley, the bedroom, the tribunal. It is ethical, Socratic, a tango, positing an embodied reality on the exterior stage suggestive of a mirror world within.  While Lyric mode is full on colonization, an irruption of foreign thoughts and feelings within our skulls.  It has the power of music to haunt us with another knowing.  No time to sort it out, no trickle down, it washes over and engulfs us.  It is experiential, pre-social, erotic, shamanic—the definition of liminal.  It is the homing device of literature’s virtual reality machine, the point on the map with the blinking red star at the center stating:  you are here. 

We will read broadly, with truth tales both as a goal and a question, but mostly we will write.  Students may focus on one genre or experiment with many.  We will have weekly peer review.  Revision is expected.  This is a workshop that will teach all writers to write persuasively and evocatively.