Spring Craft Intensive: Jeannie Vanasco


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Editor's Note

Something Borrowed: Generating New Writing Out of Old Writing with Jeannie Vanasco
Saturday, June 17
9 AM – 12 PM PST/ 12 PM – 3 PM EST

Let’s avoid the blank page. For a lot of us, it’s too anxiety-inducing—whether we’re starting a new chapter, a new section, or an entirely new project. In this craft intensive, you’ll borrow from your existing writing to make new writing.

Bring at least one manuscript—poetry, fiction, nonfiction—at any stage and of any length. You’re encouraged (but not required) to share why you chose it: “I’m tempted to abandon it.” “I don’t know if I’m revising the life out of it.” “I worry it’s the best thing I’ll ever write.” You’ll then follow prompts designed to defamiliarize or complicate what’s there. The prompts will address the sentence-level (using figures of speech, such as anadiplosis and anaphora) and the idea-level (maybe a brief scene in one work deserves to be its own work). You’ll play around with cut-up techniques and erasure.

We’ll move back-and-forth between conversation and generative exercises. My goal is for you to leave the seminar with 1) new writing you’re excited about, and 2) strategies to help you keep writing when you feel stuck.

After the seminar, you’ll receive a mini course pack, which will include our in-class prompts, new prompts, and the readings that inspired them.

BIO: Jeannie Vanasco is the author of the memoirs Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl (Tin House, 2019)—which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a best book of the year by TIME, Esquire, Kirkus, among others—and The Glass Eye (Tin House, 2017), which Poets & Writers called one of the five best literary nonfiction debuts of the year. Her third book, A Silent Treatment (Tin House), is forthcoming. Her essays have appeared in The Believer, The New York Times Magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio, she lives in Baltimore and is an associate professor of English at Towson University.