University of Iowa

The Art of Description

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

“It sounds like a simple thing, to say what you see,” Mark Doty has written. “But try to find the words for the shades of a mottled sassafras leaf or the reflectivity of a bay on an August morning—” In this workshop, we’ll take refuge in the sensory experience found in some contemporary writing as a way of thinking about a number of questions: How does description contain or convey meaning? What do we do when we describe something? Reproduce, account for, portray, trace, parcel out? How does one take the measure of the external world and what can it mean for our writing? Writers of all levels and genres are welcome and should be prepared for what will generally be a craft-based approach to your work and a thorough investigation into elements of image and description.