The Poetics of Creative Nonfiction: Crafting Sentences That Pop

April 7th, 2021 @ 2 pm Eastern

It’s not just what you have to say, but how you say it.

The richest, most memorable writing is driven not just by character and theme and story but by well-constructed sentences. Poets know that the power of their work hinges on the way words are strung together, but prose writers sometimes overlook these more “poetic” ways of generating tension and emotion. What does it even mean to be poetic? Lyric essays certainly fall into this category, but this webinar will examine how any kind of CNF (or prose, in general) can contain lyricism—and possibly explode some stereotypes about what makes writing poetic.

Additional Information

Even the most inherently dramatic stories would fall flat if not for the language. We will look at passages of creative nonfiction by such writers as Annie Dillard, Lauren Slater, Scott Russell Sanders, and Leslie Jamison, and attempt to quantify the poetic elements that carry weight. We’ll pay attention to the mechanics of powerful sentences to see what makes them pop. Aside from using syntax to their advantage, how do creative nonfiction writers use other devices often associated with poetry, such as repetition, imagery, metaphor, white space, and juxtaposition?

In this webinar, you will:

  • DISCOVER how the physical construction of sentences reflects and emphasizes their meaning
  • EXAMINE the elements that make a passage “poetic” or “lyrical,” and hence more compelling
  • DISTINGUISH between different styles or definitions of what could be called lyrical writing
  • GATHER tools to make your writing more lyrical

There will be time for Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar will be instructive for writers at any level who have a story to tell, but want to write it more compellingly, whether they are just starting out or fine-tuning a piece of writing.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

2 pm – 3:15 pm Eastern Time

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.
To request closed-captioning, email [email protected]

$15 if registered by 3/28/2021
$25 if registered after 3/28/2021

Registration will close 24 hours before the event.

A recording of the webinar will be sent out to all registrants three business days after the event.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take a little while for us to process your order and send you the link to the webinar. If you haven’t received the link by the morning of the date of the webinar, please email us at [email protected]

About the instructor: Kateri Kosek’s poetry and essays have appeared in such places as Orion MagazineTerrain.orgCatamaranNorthern Woodlands Magazine, and Creative Nonfiction, where, most recently, her essay “The Cherry Birds” was awarded the prize for the “Intoxication” issue. Her poetry has won a contest at Briar Cliff Review, and been a finalist at Rosebud, Arts & Letters, and elsewhere. She lives in western Massachusetts, where she writes for Berkshire Magazine. Kateri has been a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and, this past summer, at the Tallgrass Artist Residency in Kansas, where she explored the intersections of ranching and ecology. Kateri has taught English at Marist College, and currently lectures at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, as well as at Western CT State University, where she received an MFA and mentors MFA students. For the past few summers, she has worked surveying bird populations, and writing about the archives at the Connecticut forest estate of the late ecologist Frank Egler, who was a friend and colleague of Rachel Carson.

Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected]

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

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Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

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I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

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