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Course Catalog

A Hummingbird of Words: The Micro Memoir

All Levels | The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly forward, backward, sideways, and even upside down — all because they are so small. In this class, we’ll look at tiny texts and learn what can be accomplished in a small space that can’t in a bigger one. What can we learn by shifting scale? How can attention to the tiniest literary creations challenge and inspire us? We’ll look at the monostich, the six-word memoir, the aphorism, the ten-second essay, and the American Sentence. We’ll end with the micro-memoir, including a prompt so students can write their own.

Due to COVID-19, all classes will take place online-either through Zoom or through Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform-through Winter quarter 2021.

All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Instructor: Beth Ann Fennelly

Class Type: 1 Session

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Term: Winter 2021

Start Date: 01/23/2021

Days of the Week: Saturday

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Minimum Class Size: 10

Maximum Class Size: 20

$135.00 Member Price:
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$150.00 General Price:

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Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Beth Ann has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, all with W. W. Norton. She is also the author of 3 books of prose: Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, a collection of essays; The Tilted World, a novel co-authored with her husband Tom Franklin; and Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (2018)—a celebratory book that combines the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, “Beth Ann Fennelly’s genre-defying collection is so engaging and readable that you won’t even notice how much you’re learning about confronting the hardest challenge we all share: being human. Wise, irreverent, funny, the pieces—ranging from one sentence to a few pages—condense Fennelly’s life into singularly precise, powerful moments. Collectively, however, they become a living, breathing entity with which you will have many pleasant but deep conversations about your own life.”

Beth Ann has won grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Beth Ann’s poetry has been in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1996, 2005, and 2006, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poets of the New Century, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet.

A contributing editor to The Oxford American, she also writes freelance on travel, culture, and design for many magazines. Recent nonfiction awards include the Orlando Award in Nonfiction from A Room of Her Own, the Lamar York Prize from The Chattachoochee Review and the Porter Fleming Award for Excellence in the Essay. She’s the first woman honored with the University of Notre Dame’s Distinguished Alumni in the Arts Award.

Beth Ann lives with her husband and their three children, Anna Claire, Thomas and Nolan, in Oxford, Mississippi.

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