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1323 6th Ave N.
Nashville, TN, 37208

The Skillery is a Nashville coworking space with resources and programming for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small teams and independent professionals, all aimed at making work meaningful, satisfying and unabashedly fun.

Writing the Lyric Essay

Classes & Events

Classes, workshops and events hosted at Nashville coworking space The Skillery.

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Writing the Lyric Essay

  • The Skillery 1323 6th Ave N Nashville, TN, 37208 United States (map)

Not a poem, not a narrative, not an idea-driven essay, but something other.  The lyric essay is that thing you’ve been writing that isn’t a story, isn’t a poem, isn’t anything familiar…but what it is shocks you, spurns you forward, and makes you feel uncomfortable. In this class—which is open to beginners of any type of writing who are curious about work that blurs genre lines—we will look to work between those lines.  Braided through image, language, story, rhythm, and mimetic technique, the lyric essay expands upon its forbearers (Creative Nonfiction and New Journalism) popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by the likes of Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe.  The lyric essay, however, has pushed beyond even those gorgeously textured, vibrantly alive texts to include new levels of perception and insight, music and poetry.  In this class, we will spend three weeks defining (in Week 1), reading and discussing (in Week 2), and writing and workshopping (in Week 3) the lyric essay. Writers discussed may include, among others, Lia Purpura, Joni Tevis, T Fleischmann, Karen Green, Brian Lennon, and Brenda Miller.

Key Takeaways:
Workshops at the Porch are rigorous yet welcoming, encouraging creative expression while sharpening your understanding of craft. Led by instructors with extensive teaching experience, each class focuses on a particular genre, approach, or use of writing, and allows participants to learn from one another in a supportive, friendly atmosphere.

Who's it For:
Open to beginners of any type of writing, who are curious about work that blurs genre lines.

When does this class meet?
This class meets on Thursdays, July 9, 16, and 23 from 7 to 9pm.

About the Teacher:
Gary L. McDowell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None (Burnside Review Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Burnside Review Press Book Award; Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, 2014); andAmerican Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Orphic Prize in Poetry. He’s also the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, The Nation, Gulf Coast, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and Colorado Review. He lives in Nashville with his family where he’s an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Belmont University.

Questions about this class? Contact Ryne at

Registration:                                                                                                                   Registration is $98, here.


Earlier Event: July 9
CO.STARTERS: Summer Session