"The first symbols were animals," wrote art critic John Berger. What do we owe the animals we write about, especially in our time of global warming and mass extinction, and how can we write about them in new ways? Through readings, discussion, writing/revision exercises and peer feedback, we will explore varying approaches to writing about other species, whether pets, local neighbors or just other creatures we cohabit the earth with. From experimenting with reimagined folktales to persona poems and "braided essays," you'll leave with at least one finished draft and a new understanding of the relationship between humans and animals and how the stories we tell about animals can help us understand not only the natural world, but ourselves.
Raised in Oregon, Erica Berry was the 2019-2020 Writer-in-Residence at the National Writers Series in Traverse City, MI. She has recently taught at Literary Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the New York Times Student Journeys. Her essays appear in The Guardian, The New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic, among others, and her nonfiction debut Cry Wolf is forthcoming from Macmillan in 2023. She loves teaching at Sitka and working with students of all experience levels; only curiosity is required.
• Writing materials (digital or notebook)