POLITICS & PLACE

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

Making the Arab World: Nasser, Qutb, and the Clash that Shaped the Middle East is an essential book to better understand the roots/basis/foundation of the current turmoil in the Middle East from civil wars to ISIS. Join us for a journey into the lives of two influential leaders in the Middle East; one a political nationalist and another a religious ideological figure. Gamal Abd El Nasser; Egypt’s President from 1954-1970 and the leader of Arab nationalism known as “Pan-Arabism”. And Sayid Qutb; the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading member and ideologue, also known as the “father of various branches of radical political Islam.” This non-fiction book is based on a decade of research by Professor Fawaz A. Gerges. Two Fridays: November 8th & 22nd, 1 pm – 3 pm

With

Joseph Hartman teaches political theory, constitutional law and American government in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. Prior to his time in the academy he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown in 2015 (where he also served as the Interim Director of the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy). He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1999) and a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia (1996). His academic and intellectual interests focus on the relationship between political thought and theology in the Western tradition and contemporary issues relating to public and constitutional law.

Now more than ever, the constitutionality of government action occupies a central place in our public debate. Taught by Professor Joseph Hartman, who teaches constitutional law and political theory at Georgetown University, this class will delve into selected contemporary issues of constitutional significance, including the nature of executive power and the boundaries of privilege, the extent of the Congressional investigatory power, the constitutional framework for impeachment, and the challenges faced by the federal judiciary in its role as authoritative interpreter of the Constitution. Five Alternating Wednesdays: October 16, 30, November 13, skip for Thanksgiving, December 4, 18, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. *SOLD OUT*

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

This is another in the series of classes on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to delve into the heart and soul of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through its authors plus a non-fiction work by a distinguished expert on the Kingdom’s history and politics and its relationship with the U.S. We will explore Saudi Arabia’s history, politics and society through one non-fiction book plus novels by Saudi men and women. Five Fridays: 31st January; 14th & 28th February; 20th March; and 3rd April – Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WRITING

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Sarah Pleydell is a writer, teacher and actor. Until recently she was a senior lecturer in University Honors at the University of Maryland where she taught creative writing, literature and humanities. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel “Cologne and “The Dramatic Difference”, an award-winning book in the field of arts integration. Visit her website at www.sarahpleydell.com

 

Michaele Weissman is a journalist, author and teacher long associated with New Directions, a Washington-based writing program for psychotherapists where she co-teaches with Sarah Pleydell. The author of three books and innumerable articles, Weissman writes about food, families and history. Her most recent book, “God in a Cup,” is a narrative for which she followed three young coffee buyers around the world. Sample her work at: www.michaeleweissmanwrites.com

Join novelist Sarah Pleydell and author Michaele Weissman at a 3-part workshop helping writers access the inner landscape where imagery resides. The teachers’ approach is playful, but their purpose is serious: to help writers discover language that is uniquely theirs. Three Sundays: November 10, 17, 24, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

In an Interview with The Paris Review, author Deborah Eisenberg remarked that one of the advantages of being a writer “is that you know you can make the horrible thing better, then you can make it better again, then you make it better again.”  “Revision is all there is,” said David Remnick, Editor of the New Yorker. This workshop will offer immediate approaches and feedback for re-seeing and recasting your stories so that they are ready for submission to literary journals, MFA programs and awards. Two Saturdays: December 7 and 14 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

With

Leslie Pietrzyk's third novel, Silver Girl, was published in February 2018.  This Angel on My Chest, her collection of linked short stories about the death of her first husband, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best short story collections of 2015. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Gettysburg Review, The Sun, Washingtonian, and Cincinnati Review. She won a 2020 Pushcart Prize. Pietrzyk is a member of the core fiction faculty at the Converse low-residency MFA program and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. More information: www.lesliepietrzyk.com

Explore your creative side in this session, one of a series of stand-alone classes with prompts designed to get your subconscious flowing. Through guided exercises, we’ll focus on writing about the passage of time as witnessed through our daily lives while also exploring how time relates to us in a larger, more spiritual sense. No writing experience necessary! This is a great class for beginners and also for those fiction writers and/or memoirists with more experience who might be stuck in their current projects and are looking for a jolt of inspiration. One Thursday, January 23, 6:30 – 9:00 pm

With

Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

In this workshop, participants will examine how to tell stories based on autobiographical material, whether in the form of a memoir or work of fiction. Writers will consider issues like the limits of memory, our responsibility to our subjects who may read our work, and research to embellish our stories and make them come alive. Fiction and creative non-fiction writers may submit their work for peer critique. Three Tuesdays: January 21, 28 and February 4, 6-8 p.m.

With

Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novel Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and the novel Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

Do you have trouble making the people you're writing about in your fiction and non-fiction or other writing feel as real on the page as they do in life? In this three-session course, we'll tackle the problem of characterization head-on by discussing vital aspects of building memorable character portraits. We'll look at examples from published writing in varied genres like novels, stories, memoirs, and poetry and do targeted exercises that will give you a toolkit of strategies to breathe life into your characters. Whether you're in the middle of a piece or just have an idea for one, this course will help you get a handle on how to populate the stories you're telling with vivid personalities that establish an emotional connection with readers. Three Mondays: March 2, 9, 16 from 6 to 8 pm

FICTION

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Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and last taught at Politics and Prose in 2018. Her recent classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy.

The long-awaited publication in English of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad offers enthusiasts of his masterwork Life and Fate a rich tapestry of life in wartime Russia.  Robert and Elizabeth Chandler’s meticulous editing of the many versions of this ‘prequel’ allow us not only to revel in the novelist’s humane and literary treatments of people in war situations, as silly as family quarrels and as grand as Homer’s battles, but also to measure Grossman’s developing convictions against varying standards of political correctness of the Soviet officials who controlled publication.  As a distinguished war journalist covering the war between Germany and the  Soviet Union, Grossman includes analysis of the strategic course of the war with deep cultural awareness of the meaning of the time and episodes showing his sympathy for Russian people of every class and kind.  Four Mondays: November 4, 11, 18, 25, 2-4 p.m.

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

Donna Tartt’s  Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch  (2014)  involves a terrorist incident, a stolen artwork, and a motley cast of con-artists, orphans, and surrogate parents. The Goldfinch is a giant in pages—sprawling, gripping, powerful, and colorful in storytelling— but, the critics opined, a sparrow in style, uneven in substance.  Readers largely disagreed, and the novel flew off the shelves by the thousands. Now the Goldfinch is back, as a 2019 movie. The film prompts us to look at the novel again, in the light of its cinematic descriptions of place, representations of young manhood and the diverse family structures in America. Over the course of five years since publication, the culture of violence and alienation that was once a phantasm of the future has come closer to our reality. This class will welcome thoughtful debate about the novel, with a focus on the highlights of the reading experience, in contrast to the film. We will also discuss the novel in terms of the traditions of the Bildungsroman and the picaresque, while the ghost of Dickens (alluded to in several aspects of the novel), said to be Tartt's inspiration, looms overhead. One Monday: December 9, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. 

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

Dubbed the father of realism, Honoré de Balzac’s most famous fictional father is Père Goriot, the wilted maker of vermicelli at the center of an 1835 novel that forms the cornerstone of the author’s sprawling project,  La Comédie humaine.  A retelling of King Lear that is perhaps even more tragic for its lack of a loving Cordelia, Balzac’s style is colorful rather than dark, a textured painting of the kinds of people post-Napoleonic France left behind to fend for themselves.  Two Thursdays: December 5 and 12 from 2-4 p.m.

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Verlyn Flieger is Professor Emerita in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, where for 36 years she taught courses in Tolkien, Medieval Literature, and Comparative Mythology. She is the author of five critical books on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, Splintered Light, A Question of Time, Interrupted Music, Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien, and There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien. She edited the Extended edition of Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major. With Carl Hostetter she edited Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, and with Douglas A. Anderson she edited the Expanded Edition of Tolkien On Fairy-Stories. With Michael Drout and David Bratman she is a co-editor of the yearly journal Tolkien Studies. She has also published two fantasy novels, Pig Tale and The Inn at Corbies’ Caww, an Arthurian novella, Avilion, and the short stories "Green Hill Country" and "Igraine at Tintagel."

Join Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger in the invented world of J.R.R. Tolkien where fairy tale meets epic and little people encounter big events. We'll read The Fellowship of the Ring through the lens of Tolkien's theory of sub-creation to learn how the father of modern fantasy used the imaginary to re-present the real. Three Sundays: Feb 2, 9, 16 from 1-3 pm

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989, and last taught at Politics and Prose in 2018. Her recent classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy.

The awarding of the Goncourt Prize to Proust for the second volume of his great work, In Search of Lost Time, took place in September 1919.  A hundred years later we will read this volume, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, in William Carter’s edition of the Moncrieff English translation. In an earlier class we confronted the difficulties of approaching Proust's vast novel and will continue attentive close reading with discussion of how the new material fits or discomfits what we thought Proust was up to.  Newcomers to Proust will have plenty of opportunity for questions, but should ideally have read independently the three sections of Swann’s Way. Six Mondays: Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, March 2, 9 from 1 to 3 p.m.

With

Virginia Newmyer has lectured frequently for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and in Great Britain on a wide variety of topics in British history and literature. She also teaches OLLI courses at American University, as well as at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and Jupiter.

Dr. Susan Willens, emerita professor of English at George Washington University, also teaches at the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and other literature classes.

For 15 years, Virginia and Susan have been holding classes at Politics and Prose that examine the threads that join British fiction and history.

This course examines World War II through the broad lens of European fiction. In six novels, Willens and Newmyer will explore the ways in which characters manage their lives under threats so dire that some respond with unexpected heroism, others resigned to tragedy. The books are The Great Fortune (1960) and The Spoilt City, by Olivia Manning; Atonement (2001), by Ian McEwen; Life after Life (2013), by Kate Atkinson; The Night Watch (2006), by Sarah Waters and All the Light We Cannot See (2014) by Anthony Doerr. Choose between 3 sections.

With

Brittany Kerfoot holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Her writing has been published in The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Driftwood Press, Madcap Review, and Eventbrite.com, among others. She is the Partnered Events Manager at Politics and Prose, a college English professor at her alma mater, and at work on her first novel.

Join instructor Brittany Kerfoot for a two-hour discussion of one of García Márquez’s best works, Love in the Time of Cholera, as we dissect the story of Fermina and Florentino.

“The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.” Love, like cholera, strikes unexpectedly, renders the body powerless, and often has devastating consequences. For Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza, love will span many decades and take many forms, but ultimately, they will come back together in the dusk of their lives for one final declaration. Let’s talk about love triangles, heartbreak, a man’s 622 affairs, and everything in-between in this class dedicated to the Márquez’s classic tale.

One Tuesday: February 11, 6-8 p.m.

With

Helen Hooper, a fiction writer, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has published stories in American Short Fiction, The Common, The Hopkins Review, Bellevue Literary Review and elsewhere. She was MacDowell Colony fellow, a Kenyon Review Peter Taylor fellow and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BA from Johns Hopkins. She has taught literature and creative writing at Stanford and other universities and at the middle and high school levels. She is now writing a novel.

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Women in Love, the second of D.H. Lawrence’s linked novels about three generations of the Brangwen family from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The lavish first novel, The Rainbow, had been banned and confiscated as obscene. Together, these books form Lawrence’s masterpiece, establishing him as a giant of English literature and modernist icon. Let’s take a fresh look at them. Though no longer shocking in their carnal frankness, the novels still disturb us.   We’ll even gossip (tastefully) about his personal life: it’s relevant.  And while no one is going to find the books shocking, please note that discussion of these novels will include some sexual themes. The class meets over six alternating Thursday nights : Feb. 13, 27 Mar. 12, 26 Apr. 9, 23
 

LIFESKILLS

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Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past four years, he has led five full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and numerous programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center.  This will be his fifth course at Politics & Prose.

The practice of working with fear in the Buddhist tradition allows one to enter the present more fully.  Everyone experiences times of bravery and cowardice.  Rather than developing a cocoon of protection and removing oneself from the present situation, it is only through staying with the fear that one can attain fearlessness.  This is not a religious course, but it is about studying and working with these traditional and time proven meditational techniques and exercises that allow one to enter the now of everyday life.  One often hears that one meditates to learn to relax.  Although relaxing is often one of the byproducts of Buddhist meditation, the true purpose is to be present in one’s life, being present on the spot rather than being riveted about according to one’s hopes and fears.  It is about being open, no matter what occurs, to whatever arises in order fully to live one’s life. Four Mondays: November 4,  11, 25, and December 2,  6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.;  Please note: no class Monday, Nov.18
 

With

Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past four years, he has led five full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and numerous programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center.  This will be his fifth course at Politics and Prose.

In Pema Chodron’s new work Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World, Pema offers a way to say yes to all parts of life, opening to even those situations that we find the most problematic, the most challenging. Often using her own life as as example, she helps us to make friends with ourselves and  develop compassion towards others.  She exhorts us to wake up wholeheartedly to our entire life.  Pema does provide a guide for basic sitting meditation and for techniques to develop one’s compassion. Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

NONFICTION

With

Alyce Miller is the award-winning writer of four books of fiction and one book of nonfiction, and more than 250 personal essays, short stories, poems, articles, book chapters and reviews. She is professor emerita from Indiana University-Bloomington where she taught for 21 years in the graduate creative writing program and English department, winning several teaching awards. She is also an attorney with strong interests in social justice and animal law.

Does romance belong only to the young? Join author and professor emerita Alyce Miller for a lively, provocative, and in-depth discussion of Susan Gubar’s gorgeous and deeply moving new memoir, Late-Life Love. Romance in later life delivers a multitude of joys as well as complications. In feminist critic Susan Gubar’s most recent book, joy reigns supreme, despite the vicissitudes of personally navigating health, adult daughters grandchildren, and a vibrant community of friendships, one of which has gone astray. Sunday, December 1, from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

POETRY

With

Annie Finch is the author or editor of more than twenty books of poetry and poetics. Her books for poets and poetry lovers include A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and The Body of Poetry. Finch holds a BA from Yale and a Ph.D from Stanford, has taught and lectured widely, and has received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and craft of versification. Her poetry has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and published in Poetry, Paris Review, The New York Times, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

Join acclaimed poet, editor, and translator and beloved poetry teacher Annie Finch for a reading and writing journey through the most iconic poetic stanzas in English. No previous poetry experience is necessary to join this intensive, hands-on poetry writing workshop. Four Wednesdays: November 6, 13, 20, 27 and make up date December 4 from 3-5:30 p.m.

With

Annie Finch is the author or editor of more than twenty books of poetry and poetics. Her books for poets and poetry lovers include A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and The Body of Poetry. Finch holds a BA from Yale and a Ph.D from Stanford, has taught and lectured widely, and has received the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and craft of versification. Her poetry has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and published in Poetry, Paris Review, The New York Times, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

Join acclaimed poet, editor, and translator and beloved poetry teacher Annie Finch in savoring the intoxicating power of poetry in meter. Through reading, discussion, and a few optional writing exercises, we will learn how to distinguish the meter of a poem by ear, how to appreciate poets’ different metrical styles, and how to read metrical poetry aloud with sensitivity, grace, and panache. Three Thursdays: November 7, 14, 21 and make up date Friday, December 6 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

With

Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX (http://dante.georgetown.edu) which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/philosophy-intellectual-history/philosophy-religion-and-the-meaning-of-life.html) a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage.

Readers and critics alike almost universally praise Dante's Paradiso for the sublimity of its poetry, but sublimity comes at a price. Trying to imagine ourselves toward the outermost limits of human hope at the brink of real Mystery is beyond our capacity as earth-bound pedestrians. Dante had the same experience and his greatness lies in never forgetting that poetry's task is give human beings wings. Do give it a try, especially if you have walked the walk with the pilgrim thus far!  Five Tuesdays: November 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

With

Christopher Griffin is from Yeats country in County Galway.  He studied at Trinity College and University College in Dublin. He taught courses in Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years and at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and lectured for Smithsonian Associates.  He has taught this Heaney class at Politics and Prose many times before.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) won the Nobel Prize for Literature and has been among the most beloved of modern poets.   The Poetry of Seamus Heaney will use one book, Broken Ground: Poems 1966-1996, (no advance readings required). Since his 1965 “Digging,” the first poem in Death of a Naturalist, Heaney has been among the most read poets in English.  He has articulated experiences from his vivid childhood sensations on a Derry farm to his explorations of political tensions in Northern Ireland.  He has combined personal lyrics with public themes.  He was also a fine translator of classic verse and drama from various languages.  This class will explore some of Heaney’s best poems. Readings will be assigned in class sessions. Five Fridays of January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 14, 6-8 p.m.

 

 

MEMOIR

With

Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach living in Arlington, VA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Outside, Longreads, HuffPost, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is working on a memoir, Pay Dirt: Backpacking in Search of the Courage to Be Broke. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

Learn what it takes to turn a decent draft about an interesting experience into a powerful personal essay that will resonate with readers in such a way that they feel enriched, even changed, for having read it. We'll explore crucial elements of personal writing—craft, authenticity, and voice—via lecture, example, practice, and feedback. In addition to the feedback of your peers on your writing, you'll receive detailed commentary from me. Each student will submit a piece of writing up to 1,500 words; you will take turns providing feedback to each other.  Four Tuesdays: Jan: 14, 21, 28 and Feb 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

With

Chloe Yelena Miller has been teaching writing privately and at the college level since 2005, when she received her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry chapbook, Unrest, was published by Finishing Line Press, and her writing has been published in places such as Alimentum, The Cortland ReviewMcSweeney’s, and Narrative. Read sample publications and writing advice here: http://chloeyelenamiller.com

Do you have a memoir manuscript started that you’re ready to discuss and critique in a workshop?  The first class we’ll focus entirely on the craft of writing and setting workshop critique guidelines. In the following classes, we will dedicate a full hour to each student’s submission and spend the additional time deepening our craft discussion based on the submissions. Students will submit 1,500 words (about 6 pages double spaced) and an outline (no more than 5 pages double-spaced) after the first class. Each student will be expected to write at least one page double-spaced in response to the submissions following guidelines. Each writer will receive this feedback and additional feedback from the instructor. Five Wednesdays:  Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, (skip Feb. 19) Feb. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m.
 

 
 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and

politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

Join us for a journey into the ISIS caliphate to better understand its goals, mission and especially why it was able to recruit so many young people particularly women. First, we will read and discuss Fawaz Gerges’ book: ISIS, A History. Second, we will read Azadeh Moaveni’s book  Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS. Two essential books to better understand the roots and history of this extremist terrorist organization - ISIS and particularly its treatment of women. Two Fridays - January 10th & 24th, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm