Essays are normally regarded as relatively condensed spaces for exploratory thinking -- literally "attempts" or "tries" at sorting one's way through a topic. An essay therefore offers a different generic tradition for the author writing about death than does, for example, the longer memoir; in an essay on the death of a person, the author is arguably working in a form more akin to poetry. Concision and a close focus on each line becomes the means through which the life and death of a person -- something always epic in scale -- must be somehow fitted. In this workshop we will look at different ways in which the essay can get as close as possible to an understanding of that which defies understanding -- the deaths of those we survive.
Elegies in Prose: Writing Death and Loss in the Short Form Essay