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TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH is now available for pre-order!

Cover illustration of Black woman wearing braids, dreadlocks, and a partial Afro

TRAUMA, TRESSES, & TRUTH: Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narratives is now available for pre-order from Chicago Review Press!


Black women continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From grammar and high schools to corporate boardrooms and military squadrons, Black and Afro Latina natural hair continues to confound, transfix, and enrage members of White American society. Why, in 2022, is this still the case? Why have we not moved beyond that perennial racist emblem? And why are women so disproportionately affected? Why does our hair become most palatable when it capitulates, and has been subjugated, to resemble Caucasian features as closely as possible? Who or what is responsible for the web of supervision and surveillance of our hair? Who in our society gets to author the prevailing constitution of professional appearance? Particularly relevant during this time of emboldened White supremacy, racism, and provocative othering, this work explores how writing about one of the still-remaining systemic biases in schools, academia, and corporate America might lead to greater understanding and respect.

Writing the Lyric Essay starts March 16th

Students around a seminar table
Students around a seminar table

The lyrical essay has become a highly popular genre in multiple disciplines, from journalism to the personal essay. Authors from Purpura and Forché to Didion and Dillard have written them. But what, exactly, is this form? Poetic essay or essayistic poem? Both – or neither? The form employs a series of images or ideas, rather than chronicle or argument, to sculpt a narrative. Often inconclusive, lyrical essays reach beyond archetypal classical frames to a meditative sense of place and displacement. In this workshop you will birth, nurture, and release a brand-new lyric essay. We'll begin by identifying key components of the form, learn how to negotiate its terrain, and then get down to the business of crafting a lyric essay. You will engage in extensive revisions of your work, and then during our last two weeks together, submit your finished piece to six literary journals and contests for publication. Students registering for this class should be prepared to create new work from scratch in a concentrated, serious environment. Outside of class assignments will consist of revisions and a few exercises to help ensure that your piece is as polished and economically written as possible. This class is best suited to those who have a basic understanding of craft in fiction or nonfiction. Register now at https://loft.org/classes/writing-lyric-essay