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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Borrowed Forms: The Hermit Crab Essay

No Longer Enrolling

  • $130.00 Non-Member
  • $110.00 Member

Class Description

With the recent explosion of creative nonfiction, an emerging sub-genre, the “hermit crab” essay, is steadily gaining in popularity. Hybrids in the truest sense, these essays borrow their structures from ordinary, extra-literary sources. Writers might use a recipe, a police report, a pack of cards, or an obituary as a framework for a lyric meditation on their chosen subject. In the best examples, the borrowed structures are less contrived than inevitable, managing not only to give shape to the work but to illuminate and exemplify its subject. Using ready-made forms is an incredibly liberating way to work—exciting for both new writers and more advanced practitioners. In this one-day seminar, we will do close readings of some exemplary hermit crab essays, discuss the importance of choosing the right “shell,” and spend time generating and reviewing new work.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!