Seeing Like A Writer

Friday, June 27th, 10:30am-1:30pm
GrubStreet HQ (Remote)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Vladimir Nabokov famously taught his students that reading well means visualizing more than the author has written on the page. When Tolstoy describes a train station, for instance, you should see the porters, the gendarmes, the frosty air (all of which Tolstoy mentions), but perhaps also the varied paces of the travelers hurrying for their trains, the benches along the station wall, a clock overhead ... in short, a full scene. To read and imagine a full scene, rather than a series of details, makes for more nuanced reading—connections and emotions become more available. In this seminar, we'll develop close reading skills, and discuss how to turn close reading to our advantage as writers. How can you write in such a way that will invite your reader to see? We'll start with in-class reading exercises, using an excerpt from Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates and the poem "Gift" by Czeslaw Milosz. Then we'll try to incorporate what we've learned with an in-class writing exercise. This class is suitable for both poets and prose-writers.

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Howie Axelrod
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Previous Students Say

  • "Diverse Reading Assignments"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • In-Class Writing
  • Craft Lessons


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Young Adult & Children's Literature
  • Poetry

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