Ax for the Frozen Sea: An Introduction to Creative Writing

with Matthew Siegel

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Course Description

Franz Kafka said, “A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.” But in order to write meaningfully, it is important for us to examine why writing is necessary in the first place—and why it can feel so difficult sometimes.

To that end, award-winning author Matthew Siegel invites participants to discuss their apprehensions about writing and strategies for producing work, all while reviewing texts, sharing new material, and engaging in constructive commentary.

We delve into texts related to craft and practice, as well as creative works, from authors including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Marc Doty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Li-Young Lee, and Cheryl Strayed, among others. In addition, we read pieces by peer writers in our group, and each participant is given the opportunity for a 30-minute, one-on-one session with Matthew.

Although the course is termed “an introduction,” it can also serve as a reintroduction for those with creative writing experience who want to reengage with their practice from a renewed perspective.

Through the concerted reading, writing, and sharing of stories and poems, we make space for one another as we explore our creativity through language. By the workshop’s end, you find yourself newly energized about writing—ready to keep sustaining an already-active practice, recommit after some time away, or start fresh.

Additional Information

All are welcome

View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

One-of-a-Kind, Writers Lab
Matthew Siegel

Matthew Siegel is the author of Blood Work, which won the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry from University of Wisconsin-Madison and was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection by the Forward Arts Foundation. His poems and essays have appeared in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day program, The Guardian, PBS NewsHour, San Francisco Chronicle, the Sun, Tin House, and elsewhere. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Matthew holds a BA from Binghamton University and an MFA from University of Houston. He lives in Oakland, California.

Instagram: @matthewsiegel

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