Creative Writing Workshop: Writing Out of Place
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This writing workshop will take place in Mussoorie, India. It will focus heavily on questions of location and dislocation. Writing can be seen as a complex negotiation between what we know and what we imagine, what we see and what we project or interpret. Such negotiation is greatly intensified for the person “out of place”—a condition that one, as a traveler, chooses to inhabit.
Travel experience to the Himalayan Mountains will provide the group with abundant cultural, geographic, and ecological material to draw from and write about, but distance will also produce a fresh encounter with the concept of “home.” In “Questions of Travel,” Elizabeth Bishop wrote, “should we have stayed at home,/ wherever that may be?" She seems to suggest that home becomes less knowable, rather than more, as a function of the journey. These are rich matters to investigate as writers, and we will explore location and dislocation through three forms: nonfiction narrative, poetry, and fiction.
The seminar will require several types of work: pre-travel reading, journal keeping (notes from guest talks, readings, and excursions), writing in different forms, group workshop, and revision. Students will finish the course with notes for future writing, drafts in process, and a portfolio of finished work.
Professor John Anderson, Department of English