Jocelyn Bartkevicius

Jocelyn Bartkevicius, Ph.D.

Biography

Jocelyn Bartkevicius studied literary fiction and nonfiction writing at The University of Iowa, nonfiction writing at the Bennington Writing Seminars, and completed a doctoral dissertation on the essays of Virginia Woolf. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and such journals as The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, The Bellingham Review, Fourth Genre, The Hudson Review, Gulf Coast, and TriQuarterly Online. She has won several teaching awards and her essays have been awarded prizes from several literary journals. She is the former editor of The Florida Review and former director of the MFA program in creative writing. She is completing a book on the convergence of American Burlesque and Soviet deportation and prison camps.

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Education

  • Ph.D. in English from University of Iowa
  • M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bennington College
  • M.A. in Creative Writing from University of Iowa

Research Interests

  • Literary nonfiction
  • Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Ecological Criticism and Ecotheory
  • Virginia Woolf

Recent Research Activities

Current research focuses on research for a memoir on Burlesque and Soviet atrocities, creative writing pedagogy, and the form and history of the personal essay. "Donna Brazile Loves Mudslinging: or Why We Need the Essay Now" is available at TriQuarterly Online (http://triquarterly.org/views/donna-brazile-loves-mud-slinging-or-why-we-need-essay-now).

Awards

  • Crab Orchard Review Essay Award
    • The Annie Dillard Award in the Essay
    • The Missouri Review Editors' Prize in Nonfiction
    • The Iowa Woman Essay Award
    • Notable essay citations in The Best American Essays 2010, 1999, and 1990
    • Barbara Deming Memorial Award
    • Vogel Scholar in Nonfiction Writing, Bread Loaf Writers Conference
    • Teaching Incentive Program Award, 2005 and 1999

    Activities

    A reading and presentation at Stanford University for the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) in Spring 2018.

    Courses

    Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
    19584 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    20198 CRW4722 Editing for Creative Writers World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    Prerequisite: English major or minor, and grade of "C" (2.0) or better required in CRW 3013, CRW 3053 and at least one of CRW 3120, CRW 3211, CRW 3310, or CRW 3610 or C.I.

    This class is designed to give students who are committed writers an overview of editing processes that expand out from their own experience as writers and participants in workshop, into the broader world of preparing their work for publication, and also the possibilities of editing as a career.

    We will explore what editing, revision, and research processes writers engage in to publish their original work in journals or as books. We will also explore what editors do (whether working on literary journals or at publishing houses or as people putting together a collection or anthology), how their work has had an impact on writers and readers in the past (and may continue to do so in the future), and the many aspects of editing one’s own and other writers’ work, including the particulars of style, craft, and grammar and the grand ideals of creating or ushering books into the world.

    Reading is expected to include The Artful Edit (8th edition) by Susan Bell; The Publishing Business: A Guide to Starting Out and Getting On (2nd edition) by Kelvin Smith and Melanie Bold; The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman; Editors on Editing, 3rd Edition, Gerald C. Gross; and A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus.

    20811 LIT6076 Studies in Cont Nonfiction Face to Face Instruction (P) M,W 06:00 PM - 07:15 PM Unavailable

    Narrative Time & World Building

    Here’s a question most writers of memoirs face: How do you shape a narrative out of memory and observation, how do you locate a beginning and end?

    As David Foster Wallace [famously] wrote: “nonfiction’s abyss is Total Noise, the seething static of every particular thing and experience, and one’s total freedom of infinite choice about what to choose to attend to and represent and connect, and how, and why, etc.”

    We’ll explore a variety of strategies, from generational time (Rosner, Spiegelmann, Sukys), to the more traditional bildungsroman-like interrogation of a childhood (Bechdel, Westover, Yuknavitch), to studies in cultural oppression and self  (Coetzee, Coates), to a reflections on the impact of events in adulthood (Didion, Forche). We’ll also consider a range of structural strategies, as these writers’ approaches vary from highly lyrical to research-based, to “realist,” to epistolary.

    Our reading focuses on nonfiction, but the conversation will be relevant for fiction writers and graphic narrative artists as well. Our studies will focus on craft: Assignments will range from brief studies of craft to imitations (or reading-inspired sketches in nonfiction, fiction, or graphic narrative), to a final project that is a study in craft or a creative work that employs a strategy studied in the reading.

    Reading is expected to include:

    Art Spiegelman, Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History

    Carolyn Forche, What You Have Heard Is True

    Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

    Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

    Tah-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

    Tara Westover, Educated

    Elisabeth Rosner, Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory

    Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water

    Julija Sukys, Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning

    JM Coetzee, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life

    Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
    89431 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    90531 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    Course Number Course Title Mode Session Date and Time Syllabus
    61067 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) B Unavailable

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
    11327 CRW3211 Creative Nonfiction Writing World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    PR:  Successful Completion of CRW 3013.

    This course builds upon the writing, reading, and workshopping skills learned in CRW 3013, Introduction to creative writing. Some writers brand new to literary nonfiction may be under the (false) impression that it is all about facts, a kind of cross between researched journalism and report writing. Actually, literary nonfiction is very much like fiction writing: It is about creating stories, characters, and places. The main difference between writing fiction and literary nonfiction is this: The fiction writer can invent, can make stuff up. The literary nonfiction writer can use every other aspect of craft, but not invention. In some ways, literary nonfiction can also resemble poetry. Flash nonfiction often reads much like a prose poem.

    We will explore these aspects of literary nonfiction through craft studies, introductory exercises, longer works of writing, and workshop. Reading is expected to include Tell It Slant, edited by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard, and selected online nonfiction journals.

    11425 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    PR: Successful Completion of CRW 3013, Introduction to Creative Writing and CRW 3211, Introduction to Nonfiction Writing.

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    19294 LIT6076 Studies in Cont Nonfiction Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu 07:30 PM - 10:15 PM Available

    The Art of Witness: Or, Writing an American Life

    In “How to Write a True War Story,” Tim O’Brien suggests that the best way to tell the truth is to fictionalize. Throughout the entire collection, The Things They Carried, O’Brien explores how direct experience and observation might mingle with fiction to convey the heart and soul of human experience. Over the course of the semester we’ll consider this and related ideas about contemporary nonfiction.

    We’ll start by considering the nature of narrative prose, and the “line” between nonfiction and nonfiction. We’ll explore the role that memory and perception play in creating effective prose narratives, and how writers interweave history, culture, class, social justice, war, and other matters into their artistic renderings of the lives they are living. We’ll also examine how a book can be built from individual or related essays as well as a variety approaches to crafting book-length memoirs, graphic narratives, and subject- or adventure-centered works.

    In addition to O’Brien’s book, the reading is expected to include Tara Westover’s Educated; Marcia Aldrich’s Companion to An Untold Story; Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime; Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Richard Blanco’s The Prince of Loss Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood; Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential; Jo Ann Beard’s The Boys of My Youth; Dinty Moore’s Between Panic and Desire; John D’Agata’s Next American Essay; Roxanne Gay’s Hunger, William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life; and After Montaigne, a collection edited by David Lazar and Patrick Madden.

    During the semester, writing projects will include sketches, imitations, brief reflections. Students can choose a final project in the form of a conference presentation and related craft essay (designed for Poets and Writers or AWP’s Writer’s Chronicle), or a creative project with accompanying exploratory essay.

    Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
    81455 CRW4224 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop World Wide Web (W) Unavailable

    PR: Successful Completion of CRW 3013, Introduction to Creative Writing and CRW 3211, Introduction to Nonfiction Writing.

    This is a workshop-based course in literary nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, and—in some semesters—literary journalism). We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new student writing and studies of selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. Students will write sketches, full manuscripts, and craft studies. Reading is expected to include: The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard; The Best American Essays 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed; A Self Made of Words, by Carl Klaus, and selected online journals of nonfiction.

    81547 CRW6025 Adv Graduate Writing Workshop Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu 07:30 PM - 10:15 PM Unavailable

    This is a workshop course in literary nonfiction. We’ll focus on craft-based discussions of new writing, with a few conversations about selected published works as a way of informing our understanding of craft. You will be asked to write new work for the workshop portion of this class. Stand-alone essays (or short, self-contained memoirs) are preferred.  Chapters of your memoir may be negotiated if are submitted with context-setting information. You’ll be encouraged take risks, to see your writing as hard work, but rewarding work. To take the time to explore new approaches, to work beyond the down times, to be brave. To that end, from time to time you may be invited to write sketches to supplement the workshop manuscripts. The final project will be an additional new piece or a thorough revision of one of the workshop pieces. An informal essay about your work during the semester will accompany that writing project.

    During our workshop discussions, we'll discuss and critique manuscripts in terms of craft (that is, their structure, style, strength of characterization, voice, etc.). In reading and commenting on classmates' work, one goal of course is to collaborate in helping each writer become the best he or she can be. Another goal of commenting: learning to be a good editor and critic gives you skills and objectivity that you can later apply to drafts of your own.

    Updated: Oct 9, 2019