Tapping into Sound: Using Music to Create Prose
We’re not poets, but we prose writers know the power of a musical line. One of the central tenets of memorable writing (fiction or non-fiction) is lyrical prose, but the discussion of how to craft it often turns ethereal. It’s inherent. It’s just how I write. While it’s true lyricism can be magic—a tap on the shoulder from the elusive muse—it can also be cultivated. In short forms such as flash, where every word bears weight and must bend in the right direction, arrangement, diction, character lexicon, sentence structure and paragraph length matter. The skeleton of the sentence must enhance the content and vice versa. In this workshop, we’ll examine several examples of lyrical flash by masters like Jamaica Kincaid, Kathy Fish, and Carmen Maria Machado. In generative exercises, we’ll experiment with structure, imagery, musicality, and rhythm. In week two, we will share our work and talk about ways to revise and rework the pieces for sound. (New this spring, you'll have the option to add a detailed critique of your writing for an additional fee. Details will be sent after you register.) This class meets on two Thursdays, March 25 and April 1, 6-7:30 p.m.
About the Instructor: Beth Gilstrap is the winner of the 2019 Red Hen Press Women’s Prose Prize for her second full-length collection Deadheading & Other Stories (forthcoming 2021). She is also the author of I Am Barbarella: Stories (2015, Twelve Winters Press) and No Man’s Wild Laura (2016, Hyacinth Girl Press). Her work was recently selected by Dan Chaon for inclusion in the Best Microfiction Anthology. Her stories, essays, and hybrids have appeared in Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, The Minnesota Review, Hot Metal Bridge, and Wigleaf, among others. She has taught at Queens University of Charlotte, UNC-Charlotte, and The Loft. She currently lives and writes in Louisville in a temperamental 120-year-old shotgun house.