R169. Imagining the Essay

Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Imagination, which might be defined as unfettered curiosity, a hunger for inner adventure, and a willingness to incarnate in the other, is at the heart of the essayist’s craft. On this panel, four essayists/teachers of the form (representing personal, lyric, narrative, and hybrid subgenres) discuss ways to imagine into one’s work by reconceiving structure and time, inviting contradictions and collisions, attending to the strangeness of fact, and moving aurally and physically with language.



Rebecca McClanahan’s ten books include The Tribal Knot, a multigenerational memoir, and Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize and the Glasgow Award in nonfiction, she teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.

Lia Purpura is the author of eight collections of essays, poems, and translations, most recently, It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems.) Her awards include Guggenheim, NEA, and Fulbright fellowships, and On Looking (essays) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches at UMBC.

Ander Monson is the author of six books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, most recently Letter to a Future Lover. He teaches at the University of Arizona and edits the magazine DIAGRAM, the website Essay Daily, and the New Michigan Press.

Lauret Savoy writes of the stories we tell of the land’s origin and history, and the stories we tell of ourselves in the land. Her books include Trace: Memory, History, Race & the American Landscape and The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity & the Natural World, among others.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center