University of Iowa

The Frangible Memoir

Weeklong July 21 to July 26 2019

“Frangible” has two meanings: able to be broken up into many parts and bullets that disintegrate upon impact. We’ll be approaching the memoir this week in both senses of the word—looking at memoir and memory in terms of fragmentation, writing brief snippets of memoir in a series of exercises, and creating little explosions on the page, brief bursts that suggest more than they state explicitly. This class is designed for both poets and prose writers who are drawn less to narrative and more to suggestion and metaphor. The idea will be to create snippets of memory and observations, some a sentence in length, some a phrase, some a paragraph that, when put side by side, tell stories of the gaps and absences in our lives. As texts, we’ll be using Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and Abigail Thomas’ Safekeeping, as well as the work of Ashley Butler and others.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts.