Literally Work
A Workshop with Mirene Arsanios

June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 2022, 6:30–8pm

Corita Kent, people like us yes, 1965, screenprint on paper, 30 x 36 inches.

About this workshop

These workshops will take place online on Zoom.

Dates: Wednesday, June 1–July 5, 2022
Time: 6:30pm–8pm EST (1.5 hours)
Capacity: 25 participants
Cost: $80-240 (Sliding scale $20-60/session)
Register here.

Writing is a labor of love, a chosen form of expression the writer is expected to sustain (no matter what) through other forms of income.  This workshop explores the fraught, co-dependent relationship between paid work (teaching, editing, tutoring,  etc.) and creative work (a category untethered from material compensation). 

From our subjective positions,  we will discuss and write about the various relationships between money, work, and literature and question the nature of love in said labor: how does the self-sacrificing ethos and vocational rhetoric of creative work ultimately perpetuate exploitative structures? What environment or conditions would allow our creative selves to truly thrive?

Together we will read authors such as Anne Carson, Simone White, Roberto Bolaño, Bernadette Meyer, and Olga Ravn, whose work exposes material conditions that are traditionally kept invisible in literature. What happens when the work becomes precisely about the economy that enables (or prevents) writing to exist in the first place?

We will write, discuss, and speculate about other forms of economies and experiment with writing that reflects the conditions of possibility of its own existence.

About the instructor

Mirene Arsanios is the author of the short story collection, The City Outside the Sentence (Ashkal Alwan, 2015) and Notes on Mother Tongues (UDP, 2020). She has contributed essays and short stories to e-flux journalVida, The Brooklyn Rail, LitHub, and Guernica, among others. Arsanios is the founding editor of Makhzin, a bilingual English/Arabic magazine for innovative writing. Her next book, The Autobiography of a Language, is forthcoming with Futurepoem (2022).

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