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The Maggie Nelson Seminar

The Tin House Seminar is the product of a partnership between Tin House and the MFA Program at Portland State University. It offers a term-long intensive study of an author’s body of work, culminating in a public reading and staged interview with the author. The 2012 seminar, taught by Charles D’Ambrosio, focused on the work of the award-winning fiction writer Anthony Doerr.

The 2013 Tin House seminar, taught by Leni Zumas, will focus on the work of Maggie Nelson, a writer whose intellectual ferocity and wildly divergent work is tailor made for sustained study and discussion.

This year, for the first time, we are excited to offer readers of The Open Bar the ability to participate in the 10-week graduate seminar being taught at PSU. We encourage our readers to follow the syllabus, read the texts, and post your thoughts/comments/questions to the Maggie Nelson Seminar Blog, where Leni and students taking the course will engage with the community on the work. Towards the end of the term, Maggie, who will give a reading and interview at The Little Church in Portland on May 31, 2013, will be answering some of the questions posted to the site.

Most supplementary materials—reviews, interviews, essays, audio clips, etc.—will be accessible via the seminar website. Course members will help fill out the body of the website, adding content to the site in the form of links, images, PDFs, and/or posts related to that week’s texts.

Class begins on April 4th (today!) with an examination of Maggie Nelson’s “A Sort of Leaning Against,” an essay taken from The Writer’s Notebook II: Craft Essays from Tin House.

This is a fabulous opportunity to read (or reread) Maggie Nelson’s work—Bluets, Jane: A Murder, Shiner, Something Bright, Then Holes, The Art of Cruelty, The Latest Winter, The Red Parts: A Memoir, Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions—and engage with the material in a unique and exciting way.

We hope to see you in class!


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  1. […] have enjoyed the Tin House Seminar: Maggie Nelson thus far. For those of you new to class, read a full description of the […]

  2. […] Maggie Nelson thus far. For those of you just discovering this, please follow the link for a full description of the […]

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