• San Miguel Literary Sala

    Scientists still debate the nature of images in the brain: are these images more like pictures or are they more like language? And while actual pictures can’t be found in most of our writing (graphic forms notwithstanding) readers’ desire for images built out of language reflects a hunger for immediacy, as if they are experiencing our worlds. We, as writers, must employ a full cache of artistic techniques in order to get as close to the sensation of immediacy as possible. This means drawing on lessons from the visual arts as well as poetry, and learning how to use significant, sensory details in order to evoke an emotionally and intellectually engaged image. In this lecture, we’ll explore these craft techniques in detail, as well as ways to create a web of meaning using imagery and metaphor. We’ll also discover ways to create an imagistic or metaphoric organization by following our own associative logic.

    This workshop draws on science and art history as ways to re-think images on the page. It is geared to participants who have a broad range of interests, and would appreciate this unique, multidisciplinary approach to craft. In addition to learning about the science of imagery in the brain, we’ll look at paintings from different styles of visual art — Expressionism, Impressionism, and Realism — to draw lessons that apply to creative writing, too. We’ll read excerpts from writers like Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, and Joan Didion as examples and mentor texts and engage in a couple multi-sensory writing exercises.

    JESSICA HENDRY NELSON is the author of the memoir If Only You People Could Follow Directions and co-author of the forthcoming Advanced Creative Nonfiction: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2021). Her memoir was selected as a best debut book by the Indies Introduce New Voices program, the Indies Next List by the American Booksellers’ Association, named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Review, received starred reviews in Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, and reviewed nationally in print and on Vermont Public Radio — including twice in O, The Oprah Magazine. It was also a finalist for the Vermont Book Award. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, North American Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Carolina Quarterly, Columbia Journal, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, Drunken Boat and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University and a faculty member in the MFA Program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

    Register for this online workshop at https://sanmiguelliterarysala.org/product/all-prose-workshop-with-jessica-nelson/
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