The uncanny, as we broadly define it, is a strange, mysterious, creepy, unsettling, and inexplicable sensation that is nonetheless somewhat familiar. Perhaps it’s something like the act of reading, of being in two places at one time.
In this class, we will study how writers arrive at these moments paying special attention to how their experiments with structure and syntax subvert reader expectation. We will look to writers such as Clarice Lispector, Yoko Ogawa, Joy Williams, and Djuna Barnes whose work contains the bizarrest of images, the rawest humanity, and all the pathos–stories that raise the hairs on our necks and makes us oddly grateful, even soothed.
Prepare to be both here and there, freaked out yet proud. The class will include a short warm-up exercise, a 20-minute presentation, guided writing focusing on structure and syntax, and the opportunity to share writing generated in class. Expect to get a clear understanding of strategies that can be used to defy reader expectations. Gain the confidence to take risks, incorporating your new favorite writerly techniques. All are welcome.