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Writing the Senses and Beyond in Maine

June 6, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - July 18, 2023 @ 9:00 pm

$245 – $450

A Cross-Genre Writing Workshop

Level: All Levels

The world arrives for us through our senses, and so we rely on them to navigate our daily lives, identify hazards and rewards, and form the memories through which our identities take shape. But translating our sensory experience into language can be daunting, and in some cases, feel nearly impossible—how to capture something as elusive as a nearly-forgotten scent, or as complex yet gut-wrenching as Guernica, or as distinctive as a beloved’s voice? Writers who channel the senses effectively are able to inhabit their characters and scenes more richly, and in turn able to bring readers more fully into their stories and poems. In this course, we’ll take on the challenges of each of the five senses, exploring the work of authors who are virtuosos of imagery, sound, touch, scent, and taste. But we’ll also look, listen, smell, touch, and taste–this will be an experiential class. Of course we’ll also be reading plenty, with examples of writing from Annie Proulx, Lia Purpura, Ralph Ellison, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Jehanne Dubrow, Don DeLillo, Paul Harding, and Valeria Luiselli, among others.

We’ll do exercises that give you the opportunity to dive into the richness and power of each sense, but also delve into the realm of synesthesia, where the senses are no longer firmly delineated, as well as writers who portray and explore disability on the page. We’ll examine ways that the senses can help you approach character, point of view, voice, theme, plot, and structure anew. We’ll dip into anthropology and history, considering the cultural dimensions of our sensory experience, and even explore how plants and animals might experience the world. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and poetry are all welcome.



June 6, 2023 @ 6:00 pm
July 18, 2023 @ 9:00 pm
$245 – $450


USM Campus–Wishcamper Center
34 Bedford St.
Portland, ME
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