Some stories don’t follow a straight line, but instead run down many overlapping paths. Tangled and complicated like our actual lives, the braided essay twists together strands into a complex weave bound by reverberations and association. The meandering form allows for digressions and interruptions that are especially useful when writing through difficult or painful material.
In this eight week course, students will read through contemporary examples of braided essays and discuss their meaning, construction, and mechanics. Though a series of weekly writing exercises and peer workshops, students will be guided through the process of building their own braided essays that incorporate personal narratives, research, criticism, and other material.
Instructor: Robin Beth Schaer is the author of the poetry collection Shipbreaking (Anhinga 2015). Her poems and essays have appeared in Tin House, Paris Review, and Guernica, among others. Her recent awards include an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and Vermont Studio. She has taught writing in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio, and she worked as a deckhand aboard the Tall Ship Bounty, a 180-foot ship lost in Hurricane Sandy.