TUESDAYS, APRIL 4—25 | The election of Donald Trump means that the time to expand the literary and political imagination is upon us. The time to simply write is past. It’s time to fight and write. But how does the engaged writer do so? Using tried and true techniques—writing exercises, close readings, group discussion, and critique—this research and practice-oriented course will prepare you to rise to the call to fight and write. The course is designed for journalists, essayists, fiction, creative nonfiction writers, and poets. Among the techniques and questions we will explore are:
Cultivating the engaged writer’s mind. What habits of mind and personal disciplines can we develop to avoid falling into the innumerable pits of fear, hopelessness, and other cultural norms working against an individual pursuit of truth and beauty? Who (organizations, other writers, audiences, etc.) should I be engaging with and how? What is my role as an engaged writer in times of crisis?
Conjuring and crafting consciousness in the “post-truth” era. What themes and issues do I want to prioritize? How do I better structure my work to reflect the chaos and needed harmony of the moment? What sentence and line-level innovations do I need to undertake to better communicate in a reading environment radically altered by digital technology? How can writing from the body help me in the “disorganization of all the senses” that Rimbaud insisted was the mission of the poet warrior?
Seizing the (writing) moment. In a climate of increasingly devastated language, how can we conduct research? What are the “strategic opportunities” amidst a crisis of meaning and vision? What are the nuts and bolts that will keep me writing what matters? Where do I get paid? Should I publish for free and, if so, when?
Writer and journalist Roberto Lovato brings to the classroom more than 30 years of writing about war, crisis, and social change throughout the hemisphere. He is the recipient of a Pulitzer grant and a contributor to the Guardian, the Boston Globe, Guernica, The Nation, and many other publications, and is currently at work on a nonfiction book. Roberto has also used narrative techniques as the co-founder and former lead strategist of Presente.org, the largest online Latino organization in the United States.
Number of sessions: 4
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Dates: Tuesdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25
Course fee: $265