Writers Studio Teacher

Michele Herman

Michele Herman writes poems, stories and essays, and her work has appeared widely in publications including The New York Times, Ploughshares, The Sun, The Hudson Review and Diagram. Her first novel, Save the Village, was published in early 2022 by Regal House Publishing, at about the same time as her second poetry chapbook, Just Another Jack: The Private Lives of Nursery Rhymes (Finishing Line Press). Her first chapbook of poems, Victory Boulevard, was published in 2018 by Finishing Line. In 2018 she also won the New York Press Association award for best column for her work in The Villager. She is a two-time recipient of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize for her new English versions of Jacques Brel songs, and she has won recognition in several recent writing contests including the Raymond Carver Prize and Glimmer Train contests. Sometimes she performs her own work in theatrical and cabaret settings in New York City, often alongside her singing husband. She is a devoted teacher of Level 1, Memoir, and Tutorials.

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How do you write a good memoir? You apply the narrative techniques of fiction and poetry: you take the fascinating, messy raw material of your life and build a frame for it. You distill. You find a voice that’s all you but that also offers you flexibility, perspective and the right counterbalance to the story’s content. You tap into your emotions to give your story energy and urgency.

This six-week Intermediate memoir class is designed specifically for writers who have taken the introductory memoir class for four terms (and/or have permission from the teacher) and are hungry to expand and shape one of their previous two-page assignments into a piece of creative nonfiction or a personal essay for publication. The class will not include new exercises. Instead, students will bring in two new pages each week aimed at continuing, expanding and/or revising a piece in progress, with the goal of finishing it.

The hour-long weekly chat will include discussion and an opportunity for one or two students each week to talk at greater length about their goals and process. We may also return to the source texts for additional close readings.

We will be using the online classroom to post the two-page pieces and to post critiques.

Everyone is expected to provide a critique to at least three classmates each week. The teacher will provide weekly written feedback to everyone.

Taught by Michele Herman, one of our long-time online teachers. In addition to years of experience teaching fiction, poetry and memoir using The Writers Studio’s methods, Michele holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and divides her writing time among fiction, poetry and nonfiction.