Workshop Guidelines

First, read the essay and number the following elements when they appear:

1. Reflect an intriguing connection between at least two texts.

2. Demonstrate a strong sense of the voice and preoccupations of the writer you imitate.

3. Include a reason the writer you imitate wants to communicate with the other writer.

4. Quote and reflect on at least two texts.

5. Include intellectual and emotional responses you think the writer would have in response to the works, life, or reputation of the one addressed.

6. Comment on questions about literary history, the influence of texts on each other, and the relationship between writers and very specific cultural or historical events, institutions, or attitudes.

7. Some attention to literary form—either in theoretical terms or focused on formal strategies of particular works.

Next, read your favorite moment or sentence out loud.

Next, read a sentence that needs work or doesn’t feel right out loud. Have a conversation about how it might be improved.

Next, discuss moments where deft stitching or orienting could improve the letter.

Next, talk about the opening and closing salutations. What language would this writer use?

Are there places where the writer might actually borrow some language from a text and integrate it directly?

Finally: Name a couple of insights about literary history that emerge from the letter. Are these handled effectively? Are they clear enough without hitting anybody over the head?


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