We will be reading essays and writing short essays which will culminate in a long autobiographical essay by the end of the course. The class will be intended around the making of lyric essays—combining the aspects of poetry, journalism, research and memoir. Or, as I like to think of it—a piece of writing that comes alive by the quality of the leaps it takes. Some of the subjects I will use as writing prompts might be: race; the role of music in your life; peace; something you’re good at/bad at; an animal; a weather system; politics; best friend. And some of the readings might include work by Hanya Yanagihara, Hilton Als, Sarah Manguso, Vivian Gornick, Claudia Rankine, Elizabeth Hardwick, James Baldwin, Gregg Orr, Adrienne Rich and Jamaica Kincaid.
Michael Klein is a five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and two-time winner in poetry. He has also written two autobiographical works, both published by University of Wisconsin Press:Track Conditions, regarding his life on the racetrack with Kentucky Derby winner, Swale, andThe End of Being Known, a book of linked essays on sex and friendship. His latest book of prose and poetry is When I Was a Twin and is currently working on a book with the working title: Radical Loneliness and the Imaginary Life. He lives in New York and teaches at Hunter College.