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Experimenting with Epistolary Form

During this time of lockdown and isolation, how might words fill the spaces that set us apart, stretching across and perhaps collapsing the distances between one body and another? How might we substitute touch with speech? And, additionally, how might the form of the letter—with its slowness, its materiality—be an important mode of written communication in 2021? Can the hand-written or digital letter be a kind of prosthetic body? The epistle—which comes from the Greek epistolē, meaning “letter”—has long been a generative way to compose texts: Mary Shelley, for instance, began her first novel Frankenstein in the form of letters. In this generative, five-week online workshop, we’ll experiment playfully with the form, using the letter as a form of departure to think about text and material, word and body, and how these things infuse with questions the relational spaces between us. We’ll explore the letter through various lenses, using the love letter, the letter of complaint, mail art and the epistolary novel as ways to generate a series of new written works, which we’ll workshop every week. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Tuesday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details

  • Professor: Simone Kearney
  • Dates: June 8–July 6, 2021
  • Time: Tuesdays, 6–9 PM (EDT)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $345
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, MAY 30, 2021
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through FRI, MAY 30