The Epistolary Form

What does it mean to write across a distance? To place words inside the space that stretches out between our bodies? To substitute touch with speech? And, specifically, how might the form of the letter—with its slowness, its materiality—be an important mode of written communication in 2020? The epistle—which comes from the Greek epistolē, meaning “letter”—has long been a generative way to compose texts: Mary Shelley, for instance, began her first novel Frankenstein in the form of letters. In this five-week online workshop, we’ll experiment playfully with the form. We’ll explore the letter through various lenses, using the love letter, the unanswered or unsent letter, the letter of complaint, mail art and the epistolary novel as ways to generate a series of new written works, which we’ll workshop every week. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Thursday night, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


Simone Kearney is the author of Days (Belladonna, forthcoming 2020), My Ida (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017) and In Threes, a limited edition artist chapbook (Minute BOOKS, 2013). She was a 2014 recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry and a 2010 recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Hunter College and an MFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been awarded residencies at the Lighthouse Works, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the Woodstock Brydcliffe Guild, and Ragdale. She currently teaches at Parsons School of Design and and Rutgers University.