Reading and Writing Nonfiction: Mourning and Grief (LIT4458.01)

Jenny Boully

The elegy is typically understood as a poetic form which laments the dead: how might the elegiac essay or memoir work toward or away from the poetic tradition? What might be the qualities of the prose elegy? We will read works such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Notes on Grief, Naja Marie Aidt’s When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back: Carl’s Book, Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint’s Names for Light: A Family History, Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend, Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, as well as Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography and Mourning Diary. Students will create work—both theoretical and creative—that confronts this species of nonfiction. Work will be discussed in a workshop setting.

Learning Outcomes:
o To read and interpret nonfiction literary texts with attention to shifts in forms, language, metaphor, tone, and other devices;
o To assimilate feedback in one’s revision process as well as complete significant revisions of one's creative work;
o To articulate critical and constructive feedback, both verbally and written, on the work of peers as well as texts discussed in class;
o To examine one’s own creative process and its possibilities.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Students must submit a creative nonfiction sample for application to the course, via this form by November 17. Students will be notified of acceptance by November 22.
Corequisites: Students are required to attend all Literature Evenings, Bennington Translates, and Poetry at Bennington events this term, commonly held at 7pm on most Wednesday evenings.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
Th 8:30AM - 12:10PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature