LONG FORM CREATIVE NONFICTION: Memoir and Personal Essays in 2000 - 4000 Words (an MFA-Style Workshop) by Naomi Kimbell
START DATE: Monday, September 9, 2019
END DATE: Sunday, November 3, 2019
DURATION: 8 weeks
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This will be a rigorous class, focusing on the development and polishing of one piece of creative nonfiction of up to 4000 words. Thoughtful and detailed critique will be conducted in an online MFA-style workshop format facilitated by the instructor in which each class participant will read and critique each submitted essay. Additionally, we’ll discuss practical tips and techniques and read examples from our text, The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era, to the Present, edited by Philip Lopate. This engaging anthology surveys the history of the personal essay as it occurs across cultures dating 2000 years BCE to the modern era.
I was initially drawn to work with Naomi Kimbell after reading her honest, innovative writing. Naomi brings an incredible depth of living with her whole heart and mind to her work and teaching. Her passion, curiosity and extensive knowledge of the craft of writing is inspiring. In her writing course she shared diverse and stimulating prompts that included still photographs, different forms, and the writing of authors which opened new spaces inside me and helped deepen the texture and dimension of my poetry. Naomi has a gift for encouraging people to express their unique voice. She listens and communicates with keen intelligence and deep compassion. I appreciate the way she weaves together her sense of humor, new perspectives, great questions and her practical and diligent work ethic. Naomi is an engaging and motivating teacher. ~ Youpa Stein
Naomi’s class is one of the most inspiring classes I’ve ever taken! I’ve never been a flowery writer, and often focused more on meaning, rather than sentence structure and word choice. Writing a lyric essay is something I’ve always dreamed of, but I didn’t really understand the concept until I took her class, “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us: A Cross-Genre Exploratory Workshop.” It literally changed my life! I now understand how to edit sentences and words down to syllables and consonants to make my prose sing. She created a vibrant learning atmosphere, full of rooms, prompts, videos, and discussion. I usually like to write in silence, but our first assignment was writing to music she selected. The words that flowed from my pen amazed me, and that was due to Naomi’s instruction and safe learning environment. My classmates’ work was extremely impressive, and we had so much fun providing feedback on each other’s essays, poems, fiction, and free-writes. Naomi’s insight into the book we were reading, The Triggering Town, along with her thought-provoking discussion and encouraging feedback made this class exceptional. I’d love to take every class she offers. Her teaching style is compassionate and knowledgeable, and her suggestions for use of language are detailed and eye opening. Taking her class helped me look at the world with wonder. In the past my writing has been described as flat and reporterly. Well, never again. Now I want to go back and revise all my essays for sound. I know Naomi’s class has made me a better writer, and I can’t thank her enough! ~ Angela M. (previous WOW class participant)
Many thanks to Naomi Kimbell for dreaming up the “Music, Truth, and the Towns Inside Us” class I just took. I loved it. I’d read Richard Hugo’s Triggering Town years ago, but I must confess I didn’t completely understand the nuances of all that he was saying. It was a pleasure to be invited to participate in a thoughtful discussion. Naomi not only knows how to write, but also how to guide. I felt like she provided a safe space to experiment and submit my work for review and comments. She was prepared and available throughout the course. I would absolutely take more classes with Naomi. ~ Victoria Melekian (previous WOW class participant)
Naomi seeks a straightforwardness that does not embellish, but, rather, gets to essences—essential ideas, the essence of a story, the deep impulses that drive us to act as we do...she’s a writer of exceptional talent—one of the few who endeavor to compose personal stories as literary works...she finds the unusual within the commonplace, the surprising within the predictable. ~ Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean
Naomi Kimbell chooses her words like a poet. She reads Richard Hugo and Robert Wrigley, and Homer. Like these authors, Naomi is a careful, descriptive, and smart writer. Because Naomi is a true scholar, she knows things ... She has an ear for beauty, and BS—like no one else I’ve ever met. ~ Karin Schalm, author of Poems of Peace in these Warring Times
Naomi Kimbell knows the boundaries of nonfiction, and lucky for us she knows the perfect ways to challenge them. Whether she’s writing about family dynamics or mental illness, Naomi does more than tell a story—she engages the reader in all of her essays as form and content interact. With a fresh and invigorating writing style, her words bring you into each essay and, believe me, once inside you’ll never want to leave. ~ Chelsey Clammer, author of BodyHome and Circadian
WEEKS AT A GLANCE:
WEEK 1: Introduction
Introduction to the course. Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion. Students will be assigned a submission date for their essay and a critique calendar will be provided. Student submissions and critiques begin in week 4.
WEEK 2: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion.
WEEK 3: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion.
WEEK 4: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion. Students 1 & 2: essays submitted to workshop and critiqued.
WEEK 5: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion. Students 3 & 4: essays submitted to workshop and critiqued.
WEEK 6: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion. Students 5 & 6: essays submitted to workshop and critiqued.
WEEK 7: Workshop
Read from the assigned texts, and participate in craft discussion. Students 7 & 8: essays submitted to workshop and critiqued.
WEEK 8: Looking Toward Submission: Finding the Market for Your Essay
Market discussion and manuscript preparation.
Materials needed: All materials provided, but participants are encouraged to purchase a copy of The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era, to the Present, edited by Philip Lopate.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Naomi Kimbell lives and writes in Missoula, MT. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Montana, and her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, and other literary journals and anthologies. Her essay, “Whistling in the Dark,” was recognized as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays, 2010, and her essay, “Bounty,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in nonfiction. In addition to writing creative nonfiction, Naomi writes reviews of independent literature for the Atticus Review, has been featured on the Submittable Blog, and is currently working on a novel.
When she’s not writing, she likes to wander through the woods, across hillsides, and visit small towns, taking photographs and shooting video to create impressionistic films with ambient scores using her essays, invented landscapes, and found sounds. She lives with her husband and her bird at the base of a mountain that, from a certain angle, looks a little like an elephant in repose.
Since receiving her MFA in 2008, Naomi Kimbell has taught creative nonfiction, developmental, and college writing courses at the University of Montana, and she has facilitated memoir and cross-genre workshops for individuals with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury, people with severe and disabling mental illness, children and adults with chronic and terminal illness, and elementary school students. To learn more, view films, and read her work, visit her website at www.naomikimbell.com.
COST: $250, which includes weekly assignments, individual feedback from the instructor, and access to a private group for student interactions.
BUY NOW: Long Form Creative Nonfiction with Naomi Kimbell (8 weeks, starting 9/9/2019) Limit: 8 students. Early registration is recommended.
For Class Session Starting 9/9/2019
Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.
Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
Click to View Full List of Classes