Intimate Words: The Sentence and Its Struggles

with Judy Labensohn

Thursday, April 11, 2024 from 10:00 – 13:00


“I became more aware of the physicality of words, and began setting them out, rubbing them against each other, in a process that had as much to do with their shapes and sonics, their vowelly centers and consonantal crusts, as with their meanings alone.” –Gary Lutz

Successful writers like to spend time with sentences. Each sentence is a battlefield on which words and their sounds struggle towards meaning. Precision is the victor. In this workshop, based on the essay “The Sentence Is a Lonely Place,” by Gary Lutz (Believe Magazine, January 2009), we will learn by imitation how to write sentences that feel and sound inevitable. Using a handout of exemplary sentences, we will analyze and de-construct the words in each sentence to understand the sentence’s DNA. We will then write our own sentences, using these examples as models and inspiration.

We will discuss the organization of sounds and receive tools—consecution, recursion and sibilance—to help you construct memorable sentences. We will read sentences by fiction and nonfiction writers, Christine Schutt, Don DeLillo, John Updike, Annie Dillard, and Alice Monroe, among others.

This workshop is geared for slow prose writers, people who believe in umpteen rewrites after the initial fiery flow.

Details: 420nis before April 1 and 480nis subsequently; drinks and a light lunch included; non-refundable if you cancel within one week of the workshop and your place cannot be filled.

Clevelander Judy Labensohn is a pioneer of teaching English language creative writing in Israel. Her essays poems and stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Hadassah Magazine and have been anthologized in college textbooks. She wrote a personal essay column in The Jerusalem Post from 1983-2003. Writing as Judy Lev, Our Names Do Not Appear is her first book. She lives in Haifa.

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