Fall Craft Intensive: Shruti Swamy


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Editor's Note

Writing The Vortex: Spiral as Literary Form with Shruti Swamy
Saturday, December 16th
9:30 AM  – 12:30 PM PST / 12:30 – 3:30 PM EST

Around 200 BCE, what we now call the Fibonacci sequence was articulated and explored by an Indian mathematician named Pingala, who used this knowledge to create poetic forms. Spirals are one of nature’s favorite and most gorgeous forms, from the movement of the earth in orbit, the whorl of hair on the crown of an infant, the tight curl of a snail’s shell, to the twists of DNA that define us. For millennia humans have been making art that draws upon and responds to the meaning inherent to this shape. Think of Sufis whirling in devotion, Christians walking the labyrinth: if the line is a shape of knowing, then, as many spiritual traditions can attest to, the spiral is one of mystery and bewilderment, of un-knowing. It is a form of movement, resonance, and depth, as the spiral circles tighter and tighter around its closely held center.

I’m a fiction writer whose interest in spirals is a response to the supremacy of the narrative arc, but I think writers of any medium can find challenge, meaning, and value in experimenting and grappling with this shape. Together, we’ll explore the possibilities of the spiral for our work and practice through discussion of texts and in-class writing exercises.

This is a class best suited for writers of all experience levels.

The scholarship for this craft intensive has already been awarded.

BIO: Shruti Swamy is the author of the story collection A House Is a Body, and a novel, The Archer. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Elizabeth George Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Council, and Vassar College, and is a 2024 Rome Prize Fellow in Literature. Shruti’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeny’s, AFAR Magazine, and the New York Times, and twice won the O. Henry. Her introduction to Ursula K Le Guin’s masterpiece Always Coming Home appears in the novel’s 2023 reissue.

She is a Kundiman Fiction Fellow, and lives in San Francisco.